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55 



LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF 

CALIFORNIA 
SANTA CRUZ 






THE ENCHANTED BARN 



1 VI OTi? ..)!* I V1J HTUH 



BOOKS BY 



GRACE LIVINGSTON HILL 



AprU Gold 

Happiness Hill 

The Beloved Stranger 

The Honor Girl 

Bright Arrows 

Kerry 
Christmas Bride 

Marigold 

Crimson Roses 

Miranda 

Duskin 

The Mystery of Mary 
Found Treasure 

Partners 

A Girl to Come Home To 

Rainbow Cottage 

The Red Signal 

White Orchids 

Silver Wings 

The Tryst 

The Strange Proposal 

Through These Fires 

The Street of the City 

All Through the Night 

The Gold Shoe 



Astra 

Homing 

Blue Ruin 

Job's Niece 

Challengers 

The Man of the Desert 

Coming Through the Rye 

More Than Conqueror 

Daphne Deane 

A New Name 

The Enchanted Barn 

The Patch of Blue 

Girl from Montana 

The Ransom 
Rose Galbraith 

The Witness 
Sound of the Trumpet 

Sunrise 
Tomorrow About This 

Time 

Amorelle 

Head of the House 

Ariel Custer 
In Tune with Wedding 

Bells 
Chance of a Lifetime 



Maris 

Crimson Mountain 
Out of the Storm 

Exit Betty 
Mystery Flowers 
The Prodigal Girl 
Girl of the Woods 

Re-Creations 
The White Flower 

Matched Pearls 
Time of the Singing of 

Birds 

Ladybird 

The Substitute Guest 

Beauty for Ashes 

Stranger Within the Gates 

The Best Man 

Spice Box 
By Way of the Silverthorns 

The Seventh Hour 

Dawn of the Morning 

The Search 

Brentwood 

Cloudy Jewel 

The Voice 
in the Wilderness 



BOOKS BY 
RUTH LIVINGSTON HILL 



Mary Arden 
(with Grace Livingston Hill) 

Morning Is for Joy 

John Nielson Had a Daughter 

Bright Conquest 



The 
Enchanted Barn 

BY 

GRACE LIVINGSTON HILL 



GROSSET & DUNLAP 

PUBLISHERS NEW YORK 
By arrangement with J. B. Lippincott Co. 

Made in the United States of America 



COPYRIGHT, 1917, BT THB OOLDBN BtTXA OOMFAHY 
COPYRIGHT. 1918, BT J. B. MPPINOOTT OOMPAKY 






THE ENCHANTED BARN 



CHAPTER I 

SHIRLEY HOLLISTER pushed back the hair from her hot 
forehead, pressed her hands wearily over tired eyes, then 
dropped her fingers again to the typewriter keys, and flew on 
with the letter she was writing. 

There was no one else in the inner office where she eat. 
Mr. Barnard, the senior member of the firm, whose ste- 
nographer she was, had stepped into the outer office for a 
moment with a telegram which he had just received. His 
absence gave Shirley a moment's respite from that feeling that 
she must keep strained up to meet bis gaze and not let trouble 
show in her eyes, though a great lump was choking in her throat 
and the tears stung her hot eyelids and insisted on blurring 
her visior now and then. But it was only for an instant that 
she gave way. Her fingers flew on with their work, for this 
was an important letter, and Mr. Barnard wanted it to go in 
the next mail. 

As she wrote, a vision of her mother's white face appeared 
to her between the lines, the mother weak and white, with 
tears on her cheeks and that despairing look in her eyes. 
Mother hadn't been able to get up for a week. It seemed as if 
the cares of life were getting almost too much for her, and the 
warm spring days made the little brick house in the narrow 
street a stifling place to stay. There was only one small 
window in mother's room, opening against a brick wall, for 
they had had to rent the front room with its two windows. 



6 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

But, poor as it was, the little brick house had been home; 
and now they were not to have that long. Notice had been 
served that they must vacate in four weeks; for the house, in 
fact, the whole row of houses in which it was situated, had 
been sold, and was to be pulled down to make way for a big 
apartment-house that was to be put up. 

Where they were going and what they were going to do 
now was the great problem that throbbed on Shirley's weary 
brain night and day, that kept her from sleeping and eating, 
that choked in her throat when she tried to speak to Mr. 
Barnard, that stared from her feverish ej r es as she looked at 
the sunshine on the street or tried to work in the busy monotony 
of the office. 

They had been in the little house nearly a year, ever since 
the father died. It had taken all they could scrape together to 
pay the funeral expenses, and now with her salary, and the 
roomer's rent, and what George got as cash-boy in a depart- 
ment store they were just barely able to get along. There 
was not a cent over for sickness or trouble, and nothing to 
move with, even if they had anywhere to move, or any time to 
hunt for a place. Shirley knew from her experience in hunt- 
ing for the present house that it was going to be next to 
impossible for them to find any habitable place for as little 
rent as they were now paying, and how could they pay more ? 
She was only a beginner, and her salary was small. There 
were three others in the family, not yet wage-earners. The 
problem was tremendous. Could it be that Carol, only four- 
teen years old, must stop school and go to work somewhere to 
earn a pittance also ? Carol was slender and pale, and needed 
fresh air and nourishing food. Carol was too young to bear 
burdens yet ; besides, who would be housekeeper and take care 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 7 

of mother if Carol had to go to work ? It was different with 
George; he was a boy, strong and sturdy; he had his school 
in the department store, and was getting on well with his 
studies. George would be all right. He belonged to a base- 
ball team, too, and got plenty of chances for exercise; but 
Carol was frail, there was no denying i'v. Harley was a 
boisterous nine-year-old, always on the street these days when 
he wasn't in school; and who could blame him? For the 
narrow, dark brick house was no place for a lively boy. But 
the burden and anxiety for him were heavy on his sister's 
heart, who had taken over bodily all the worries of her mother. 
Then there was the baby Doris, with her big, pathetic eyes, 
and her round cheeks and loving ways. Doris, too, had to be 
shut in the dark little house with the summer heat coming on, 
and no one with time enough or strength enough to take her 
to the Park. Doris was only four. Oh, it was terrible, terrible! 
and Shirley could do nothing but sit there, and click those 
keys, and earn her poor little inadequate salarv ! Some day, 
of course, she would get more but some day mig&t be too late ! 

She shuddered as the terrible thought flashed through her 
mind, then went on with her work again. She must shake off 
this state of mind and give attention to her duty, or she 
would lose even this opportunity to help her dear ones. 

The door of the outer office opened, and Mr. Barnard 
entered. 

"Miss Hollister," he said hurriedly, "if you have those 
letters ready, I will sign them at once. We have just bad 
word that Mr. Baker of the firm died last night in Chicago, 
and I must go on at once. The office will be closed for the rest 
of the day. You can let those other matters that I spoke of 
go until to-morrow, and you may have the day oft. I shall 



8 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

not be at the office at the usual hour to-morrow morning, bat 
you can come in and look after the mail. I will leave further 
directions with Mr. Clegg. You can mail these letters as you 
go down." 

Ten minutes later Shirley stood on the street below in the 
warm spring sunshine, and gazed about her half dazed. It- 
seemed a travesty on her poor little life just now to have a 
holiday and no way to make it count for the dear ones at 
home. How should she use it, anyway ? Should she go home 
and help Carol? Or should she go out and see whether she 
could find a house somewhere that they could possibly afford 
to move to? That, of course, was the sensible thing to do; 
yet she had no idea where to go. Eut they did not expect her 
home at this time of day. Perhaps it was as well that she 
should use this time and find out something without worry- 
ing her mother. At least, she would have time to think 
undisturbed. 

She grasped her little package of lunch that she had 
brought from home with her and looked about her helplessly. 
In her little thin purse was the dime she always carried with 
her to pay her car-fare in case something happened that she 
had to ride either way though she seldom rode, even in a 
storm. But her mother insisted on the dime. She said it 
was not safe to go without any money at all. This dime was 
her capital wherewith to hunt a house. Perhaps the day had 
been given her by a kind heavenly Father to go on her search. 
She would try to use it to the best of her ability. She lifted 
her bewildered heart in a feeble petition for light and help in 
her difficult problem, and then she went and stood on the 
corner of the street where many trolley-cars were passing and 
repassing. Which one should she take, and where should she 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 9 

go? The ten cents must cover all her riding, and she must 
save half of it for her return. 

She studied the names on the cars. " Glenside Road " one 
read. What had she heard about that ? Ah ! that it was the 
longest ride one could take for five cents within the limits of 
the city's roads ! Her heart leaped up at the word. It sounded 
restful anyway, and would give her time to think. It wasn't 
likely, if it went nea any glens, that there would be any 
houses within her means on its way; but possibly it passed 
some as it went through the city, and she could take notice of 
the streets and numbers and get out on her return trip to 
investigate if there proved to be anything promising; or, if 
it were too far away from home for her to walk back from it, 
she could come another time in the evening with George, some 
night when he did not have school. Anyhow, the ride would 
rest her and give her a chance to think what she ought to do, 
and one car was as good as another for that. Het resolve was 
taken, and she stepped out and signalled it. 

There were not many people in the car. It was not an 
hour when people rode out to the suburbs. Two workmen 
with rolls of wall-paper slung in burlap bags, a woman and 
a little girl, that was all. 

Shirley settled back in her seat, and leaned her head 
against the window-sash wearily. She felt so tired, body and 
soul, that she would have been glad to sleep and forget for a 
little while, only that there was need for her to be up and 
doing. Her room had been oppressively warm the night 
before; and Doris, who slept with her, had rolled from one 
side of the bed to the other, making sleep well-nigh impossible 
for the elder sister. She felt bruised and bleeding in her very 
soul, and longed for rest. 



10 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

The car was passing through the thickest of the city's 
business thoroughfare, and the noise and confusion whirled 
about her ears like some fiendish monotonous music that set 
the time for the mad dancs of the world. One danced to it 
whether one would or not, and danced on to one's death. 

Around the city hall the car passed, and on up Market 
Street. They passed a great fruit-store, and the waft of air 
that entered the open windows came laden with the scent of 
over-ripe bananas, late oranges and lemons; a moment later 
with sickening fumes it blended into a deadly smell of gas from 
a yawning hole in the pavement, and mingled with the sweat of 
the swarthy foreigners grouped about it, picks in hand. It 
seemed as though all the smells in creation were met and con- 
gregated in that street within four or five blocks ; and one by 
one they tortured her, leather and paint and metal and soap, 
rank cheese in a fellow traveller's market-basket, thick stifling 
smoke from a street engine that was champing up the gravel 
they fed it to make a new patch of paving, the stench from the 
cattle-sheds as they passed the railroad and stock-yards, the 
dank odor of the river as they crossed the bridge, and then an 
oilcloth-factory just beyond ! The faint sweet breath of early 
daffodils and violets from an occasional street vendor stood no 
chance at all with these, and all the air seemed sickening and 
dreadful to the girl as she rested wearily against the window 
with closed eyes, and tried to think. 

They slipped at last into the subway with a whir and a 
swish, where the cool, clean smell of the cement seemed 
gradually to rise and drown the memory of the upper world, 
and came refreshingly in at the windows. Shirley had a pass- 
ing thought, wondering whether it would be like that in the 
grave, all restful and sweet and quiet and clean, with the 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 11 

noisy, heartless world roaring overhead. Then they came up 
suddenly out of the subway, with a kind of triumphant leap 
and shout of brakes and wheels, into the light and sunshine 
above, and a new world. For here were broad streets, clean 
pavements, ample houses, well-trimmed lawns, quiet people 
walking in comfort, bits of flower-boxes on the window-sills 
filled with pansies and hyacinths ; and the air was sweet and 
clean. The difference made Shirley sit up and look about her, 
and the contrast reminded her of the heaven that would be 
beyond the grave. It was just because she was so tired and 
disheartened that her thoughts took this solemn form. 

But now her heart sank again, for she was in the world 
of plenty far beyond her means, and there was no place for 
such as she. Not in either direction could she see any little 
side streets with tiny houses that would rent for fifteen dollars 
a month. There were such in the city, she knew; but they 
were scarce, and were gobbled up as soon as vacant. 

But here all was spaciousness, and even the side streets 
had three stories and smug porches with tidy rockers and bay 
windows. 

She looked at the great plate-glass windows with their 
cobwebby lace draperies, and thought what it would be if she 
were able to take her mother and the children to such a home 
as one of those. Why, if she could afford that, George could 
v go to college, and Doris wear a little velvet coat with rose- 
buds in her bonnet, like the child on the sidewalk with her 
nurse and her doll-carriage. 

But a thing like that could never come to her. There wsre 
no rich old uncles to leave them a fortune ; she was not bright 
and gifted to invent some wonderful toy or write a book or 
paint a picture that would bring the fortune ; and no one would 



1* THE ENCHANTED BARN 

ever come her way with a fortune to marry her. Those things 
happened only in story-books, and she was not a story-book 
girl; she was just a practical, every-day, hard-working girl 
with a fairly good complexion, good blue eyes and a firm 
chin. She could work hard and was willing ; but she could not 
bear anxiety. It was eating into her soul, and she could feel 
a kind of mental paralysis stealing over her from it, benumbing 
her faculties hour by hour. 

The car glided on, and the houses grew less stately and 
farther apart. They were not so pretentious now, but they 
were still substantial and comfortable, with more ground and 
an air of having been there always, with no room for new- 
comers. Now and then would come a nucleus of shops and 
an old tavern with a group of new groceries and crying com- 
petition of green stamps and blue stamps and yellow stamps 
posted alluringly in their windows. Here busy, hurried people 
would swarm, and children ran and shouted ; but every house 
they passed seemed full to overflowing, and there was nowhere 
any place that seemed to say, " Here you may come and find 
room!" 

And now the car left the paved and built-up streets, and 
wandered out between the open fields, where trees arched 
lavishly overhead, and little new green things lifted up 
unfrighteneti heads, and dared to grow in the sunshine. A 
new smell, the smell of rich earth and young green growing 
things, of skunk-cabbage in bloom in the swamps, of budding 
willows and sassafras, roused her senses; the hum of a bee 
on its way to find the first honey-drops came to her ears. t 
Sweet, droning, restful, with the call of a wild bird in the 
distance, and all the air balmy with the joy of spring. Ah ! 
This was a new world ! This indeed was heaven ! What a 



THE ENCHANTED BARN la 

contrast to the office, and the little narrow stifling brick house 
where mother lay, and Doris cut strings of paper dolls from 
an old newspaper and sighed to go out in the Park ! What a 
contrast ! Truly, this was heaven ! If she could but stay, and 
all the dear ones come! 

She had spent summers in the country, of course ; and she 
knew and loved nature, but it had been five years since she 
had been free to get outside the city limits for more than a 
day, and then not far. It seemed to her now that she had 
never sensed the beauty of the country as to-day; perhaps 
because she had never needed it as now. 

The road went on smoothly straight ahead, with now a 
rounding curve, and then another long stretch of perfect road. 
Men were ploughing in the fields on one side, and on the other 
lay the emerald velvet of a field of spring wheat. More people 
had got into the car as it left the city. Plain, substantial 
men, nice, pleasant women ; but Shirley did not notice them ; 
she was watching the changing landscape and thinking her 
dismal, pitiful thoughts. Thinking, too, that she had spent 
her money or would have when she returned, with nothing 
to show for it, and her conscience condemned her. 

They were coming now to a wide, old-fashioned barn of 
stone, with ample grassy stone-coped entrance rising like a 
stately carpeted stairway from the barn-yard. It was resting 
on the top of a green knoll, and a great elm-tree arched over it 
protectingly. A tiny stream purled below at one side, and the 
ground sloped gradually off at the other. Shirley was not 
noticing the place much except as it was a part of the land- 
scape until she heard the conductor talking to the man across 
the aisle about it. 

" Good barn ! " he was saying reflectively. " Pity to hav 



14 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

it standing idle so long; but they'll never rent it without a 
house, and they won't build. It belongs to the old man's 
estate, and can't be divided until the youngest boy's of age, 
four 'r five years yet. The house burned down two years ago. 
Some tramps set it afire. No, nobody was living in it at tho 
time. The last renter didn't make the farm pay, too fur 
from the railroad, I guess, and there ain't anybody near 
enough round to use the barn since Halyer built his new 
barn," and he indicated a great red structure down the road 
on the other side. " Halyer useta use this, rented it fer 
less'n nothing, but he got too lazy to come this fur, and so he 
eold off half his farm fer a dairy and built that there barn. 
So now I s'pose that barn'll stand idle and run to waste till 
that kid comes of age and there's a boom up this way and it's 
sold. Pity about it, though ; it's a good barn. Wisht I had it 
Up to my place ; I could fill it." 

" Make a good location for a house," said the other man, 
looking intently at the big stone pile. " Been a fine barn in its 
time. Old man must uv had a pile of chink when he built 
it. Who'd ya say owned it ? " 

" Graham, Walter Graham, big firm down near the city 
hall guess you know 'em. Got all kinds of money. This ain't 
one, two, three with the other places they own. Got a regular 
palace out Arden way fer summer and a town house in the 
swellest neighborhood, and own land all over. Old man in- 
herited it from his father and three uncles. They don't even 
scarcely know they got this barn, I reckon. It ain't very 
stylish out this way just yet." 

" Be a big boom here some day ; nice location," said the 
passenger. 

" Not yetta while," said the conductor sagely ; " railroad 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 13 

station's too far. Wait till they get a station out Allister 
Avenue; then you can talk. Till then it'll stay as it is, I reckon. 
There's a spring down behind the barn, the best water in the 
county. I useta get a drink every day when the switch was 
up here. I missed it a lot when they moved the switch to the 
top of the hill. Water's cold as ice and clear as crystal 
can't be beat this side the soda-fountain. I sometimes stop 
the car on a hot summer day now, and run and get a drink - 
it's great." 

The men talked on, but Shirley heard no more. Her eyes 
were intent on the barn as they passed it the great, beau- 
tiful, wide, comfortable-looking barn. What a wonderful 
house it would make ! She almost longed to be a cow to 
enter this peaceful shelter and feel at home for a little while. 

The car went on, and left the big barn in the distance; 
but Shirley kept thinking, going over almost unconsciously all 
the men had said about it. Walter Graham ! Where had she 
seen that name ? Oh, of course in the Ward Trust Building, 
the whole fourth floor. Leather goods of some sort, perhaps, 
she couldn't just remember; yet she was sure of the name. 

The man had said the barn rented for almost nothing. 
What could that mean translated in terms of dollars ? Would 
the fifteen dollars a month that they were now paying for 
the little brick house cover it? But there would be the car- 
fare for herself and George. Walking that distance twice a 
day, or even once, would be impossible. Ten cents a day, 
sixty cents a week twice sixty cents ! If they lived out of 
the city, they couldn't afford to pay but twelve dollars a 
month. They never would rent that barn for that, of course, 
it was so big and grand-looking; and yet it was a barn! 
What did barns rent for, anyway? 



16 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

And, if it could be had, could they live in a barn ? What 
were barns like, anyway, inside? Did they have floors, or 
only stalls and mud? There had been but two tiny windows 
visible in the front ; how did they get light inside ? But then 
it couldn't be much darker than the brick house, no matter 
what it wss. Perhaps there was a skylight, and hay, pleasant 
hay, to lie down on and rest. Anyhow, if they could only 
manage to get out there for the summer somehow, they could 
bear some discomforts just to sit under that great tree andf 
look up at the sky. To think of Doris playing under that 
tree! And mother sitting under it sewing! Mother could 
get well out there in that fresh air, and Doris would get rosy 
cheeks again. There would not likely be a school about for 
Carol ; but that would not hurt her for the summer, anyway, 
*nd maybe by fall they could find a little house. Perhaps she 
would get a raise in the fall. If they could only get some- 
where to go now ! 

But yet a barn ! Live in a barn ! What would mother 
Bay ? Would she feel that it was a disgrace ? Would she call 
it one of Shirley's wild schemes ? Well, but what were they 
going to do? They must live somewhere, unless they were 
destined to die homeless. 

The car droned on through the open country coming now 
and then to settlements of prosperous houses, some of them 
small ; but no empty ones seemed to beckon her. Indeed, they 
looked too high-priced to make her even look twice at then? ; 
besides, her heart was left behind with that barn, that great^ 
beautiful barn with the tinkling brook beside it, and the 
arching tree and gentle green slope. 

At last the car stopped in a commonplace little town in 
front of a red brick church, and everybody got up and went 



THE ENCHANTED BARN V 

out. The conductor disappeared, too, and the motorman 
leaned back on his brake and looked at her significantly. 

"End of the line, lady," he said with a grin, as if she 
were dreaming and had not taken notice of her surroundings. 

s< Oh/ 7 said Shirley, rousing up, and looking bewilderedly 
about her. " Well, you go back, don't you ? " 

" Yes. Go back in fifteen minutes/' said the motorman 
indulgently. There was something appealing in the sadness 
of this girl's eyes that made him think of his little girl at 
home. 

" Do you go back just the same way ? " she asked with 
sudden alarm. She did want to see that barn again, and to 
get its exact location so that she could come back to it some 
day if possible. 

" Yes, we go back just the same way," nodded the motor- 
man. 

Shirley sat back in her seat again contented, and resumed 
her thoughts. The motorman took up his dinner-pail, sat 
down on a high stool with his back to her, and began to eat. 
It was a good time now for her to eat her little lunch, but 
she was not hungry. However, she would be if she did not eat 
it, of course; and there would be no other time when people 
would not be around. She put her hand in her shabby coat- 
pocket for her handkerchief, and her fingers came into contact 
with something small and hard and round. For a moment 
she thought it was a button that had been off her cuff for 
several days., But no, she remembered sewing that on that 
very morning. Then she drew the little object out, and behold 
it was a five-cent piece ! Yes, of course, she remembered now. 
It was the nickel she put in her pocket last night when she 
rent for the extra loaf of bread and found the store closed 
2 



18 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

She had made johnny-cake instead, and supper had been late; 
but the nickel had stayed in her coat-pocket forgotten. And 
now suddenly a big temptation descended upon her, to spend 
that nickel in car-fare, riding to the barn and getting out 
for another closer look at it, and then taking the next car on 
into the city. Was it wild and foolish, was it not perhaps 
actually wrong, to spend that nickel that way when they needed 
so much at home, and had so little? A crazy idea, for how 
could a barn ever be their shelter? 

She thought so hard about it that she forgot to eat her 
lunch until the motorman slammed the cover down on his tin 
pail and put the high stool away. The conductor, too, was 
coming out of a tiny frame house, wiping his mouth with the 
back of his hand and calling to his wife, who stood in the 
doorway and told him about an errand she wanted him to do 
for her in the city. 

Shirley's cheeks grew red with excitement, for the nickel 
was burning in her hand, and she knew in her heart that she 
was going to spend it getting off that car near that barn. 
She would eat her lunch under the tree by the brook! How 
exciting that would be! At least it would be something to 
tell the children about at night! Or no! they would think 
her crazy and selfish, perhaps, to waste a whole day and fifteen 
cents on herself. Still, it was not on herself; it was really for 
them. If they could only see that beautiful spot ! 

When she handed her nickel to the conductor, she felt 
almost guilty, and it seemed as if he could see her intention 
in her eyes; but she told herself that she was not sure she was 
going to get off at all. She could decide as she came near the 
place. She would have to get off either before she got there 
or after she had passed and walk back. The conductor would 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 19 

think it strange if a young girl got off the car in the country 
in front of an empty barn. How would she manage it ? There 
had been houses on the way, not far from the barn. What 
was the name the conductor had mentioned of the man who 
had built another barn ? She might get off at his house, but 
still stay what was that avenue where they had said the 
railroad would come some day with a station? They had 
called it out as they stopped to let off the woman and the little 
girl. Allister Avenue! That was it. She would ask the 
conductor to let her off at Allister Avenue. 

She watched the way intently; and, as they neared the 
place where Allister Avenue ought to be, her heart pounded 
so that she felt quite conscious, as if she were going to steal a 
barn and carry it home in her coat-pocket. 

She managed to signal the car to stop quite quietly, how- 
ever, and stepped down to the pavement as if it were her 
regular stopping-place. She was aware of the curious gaze 
of both motorman and conductor, but she held her head up, 
and walked a few steps up Allister Avenue until the car had 
whirred on out of sight. Then she turned anxiously, looking 
down the road, and there to her joy saw the stone gable of the 
great barn high on its knoll in the distance. 



CHAPTEE II 

SHIRLEY walked down the dusty road by the side of the 
car-track, elation and excitement in her breast. What an 
adventure ! To be walking alone in this strange, beautiful 
spring country, and nobody to interfere ! It was her Father's 
beautiful out-of-doors, and she had paid her extra nickel to 
have a right to it for a little while. Perhaps her mother 
would have been worried at her being alone in the country, 
but Shirley had no fears. Young people seldom have fears. 
She walked down the road with a free step and a bright light 
in her eyes. She had to see that barn somehow ; she just had to ! 

She was almost breathless when she reached the bottom 
of the hill at last, and stood in front of the great barn. The 
up car passed her just as she got there, and the people looked 
out at her apathetically as they would at any country girl. 
She stood still a minute, and watched the car up the hill and 
out of sight, then picked her way across the track, and entered 
the field where the fence was broken down, walking up the 
long grassy slope to the front of the barn and standing still at 
the top in front of the big double doors, so grim and 
forbidding. 

The barn was bigger than it looked in the distance. She 
felt very small; yet her soul rejoiced in its bigness. Oh, to 
have plenty of room for once ! 

She put her nose close to the big doors, and tried to find 

a crack to look through; but the doors were tight and fitted 

well. There was no use trying to see in from there. She 

turned and ran down the long grassy slope, trying to pretend 

20 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 21 

it was a palatial stairway, then around the side to the back 
of the barn, and there at last she found a door part way ajar, 
opening into what must have been the cow-stables, and she 
slipped joyously in. Some good angel must have been pro- 
tecting her in her ignorance and innocence, for that dark 
basement of the barn would have been an excellent hidicg- 
place for a whole regiment of tramps; but she trod safely on 
her way, and found nothing but a field-mouse to dispute her 
entrance; and it scurried hastily under the foundation, and 
disappeared. 

The cow-stables evidently had not been occupied for a 
number of years, for the place was clean and littered with dry 
straw, as if it had fallen and sifted from the floor above. The 
stalls were all empty now. and old farm implements, several 
ploughs, and a rickety wagon occupied the dusty, cobwebby 
spaces beyond the stalls. There were several openings, rude 
doorways and crude windows; and the place was not un- 
pleasant, for the back of it opened directly upon a sloping 
hill which dropped away to the running brook below, and a 
little stone spring-house, its mossy roof half hidden by a 
tangle of willows. Shirley stood in a doorway and gazed with 
delight, then turned back to her investigation. This lower 
place would not do for human habitation, of course; it was 
too low and damp, and the floor was only mud. She must 
penetrate if possible to the floor above. 

Presently she found a rough ladder, cleats nailed to up- 
rights against the wall; and up this she crept cautiously to 
the opening above, and presently emerged into the wide floor 
of the real barn. 

There were several small windows, left open, and the sweet 
spring air swept gently in; and there were little patches of 



22 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

pale sunshine in the misty recesses of the great dim room. 
Gentle motes floated in the sharp lances of sunshine that 
stole through the cracks ; another ladder rose in the midst of 
the great floor to the loft above; and festoons of ancient hay 
and cobwebs hung dustily down from the opening above. 
After Shirley had skipped about the big floor and investigated 
every corner of it, imagining how grand it would be to set 
the table in one end of the room and put mother's bed behind 
a screen in the other end, with the old piano somewhere in 
the centre and the big parlor chair^ mended, near by, the old 
couch covered with a portiere standing on the other side, she 
turned her attention to the loft, and, gathering courage, 
climbed up there. 

There were two great openings that let in the light; but 
they seemed like tiny mouse-holes in the great place, and the 
hay lay sweet and dim, thinly scattered over the whole big 
floor. In one corner there was quite a luxurious lot of it, and 
Shirley cast herself down upon it for a blessed minute, and 
looked up to the dark rafters, lit with beams of sunlight 
creeping through fantastic cracks here and there, and won- 
dered how the boys would enjoy sleeping up here, though there 
was plenty of room down-stairs for a dozen sleeping-rooms for 
the matter of that. 

Foolish, of course, and utterly impossible, as all day- 
dreams always had been; but somehow it seemed so real and 
beautiful that she could scarcely bring herself to abandon it. 
Nevertheless, her investigation had made her hungry, and 
she decided at last to go down and eat her lunch under the 
big tree out in the sunshine; for it was dark and stuffy inside, 
although one could realize how beautiful it would be with 
those two great doors flung wide, and light and air let in. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 23 

The day was perfect, and Shirley found a beautiful place 
to sit, high and sheltered, where she would not be noticed 
when the trolley-cars sped by ; and, as she ate her sandwiches, 
she let her imagination build a beautiful piazza where the 
grassy rise came up to the front of the barn, and saw in 
thought her mother sitting with the children at the door. 
How grand it would be to live in a home like this, even if it 
were a barn ! If they could just get out here for the summer, 
it would do wonders for them all, and put new heart into her 
mother for the hard work of the winter. Perhaps by fall 
mother would be well enough to keep boarders as she longed 
to do, and so help out with the finances more. 

Well, of course, this was just one of her wild schemes, and 
she must not think any more about it, much less even speak of 
it at home, for they would never get done laughing and teasing 
her for it. 

She finished the last crumb of the piece of one-egg cake 
that Carol had made the day before for her lunch, and ran 
down to the spring to see whether she could get a drink, for 
she was very thirsty. 

There proved to be an old tin can on the stones in the 
spring-house, doubtless used by the last tramp or conductor 
who came that way; but Shirley scrubbed it carefully in the 
sand, drank a delicious draught, and washed her hands and 
face in the clear cold water. Then she went back to the barn 
again, for a new thought had entered her mind. Supposing 
it were possible to rent that place for the summer at any 
reasonable price, how could they cook and how keep warm? 
Of course there were such things as candles and oil-lamps 
for lighting, but cooking! Would they have to build a fire 
out-of-doors and play at camping? Or would they have to 



84 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

resort to oil-stoves ? Oil-stoves with their sticky, oily outsides, 
and their mysterious moods of smoke and sulkiness, out of 
which only an expert could coax them! 

But, though she stood on all sides of that barn, and gazed 
up at the roof, and though she searched each floor diligently, 
she could find no sign of a chimney anywhere. Her former 
acquaintance with barns had not put her into a position to 
judge whether this was a customary lack of barns or not. 
There were two wooden, chimney-like structures decorating 
the roof, but it was all too evident that they were solely for 
purposes of ornament. Her heart sank. What a grand fire- 
place there might have been right in the middle of the great 
wall opposite the door ! Could anything be more ideal ? She 
could fancy mother sitting in front of it, with Harley and 
Doris on the floor playing with a kitten. But there was no 
fireplace. She wondered vaguely whether a stovepipe could 
be put out of the window, and so make possible a fire in a 
small cook-stove. She was sure she had seen stovepipes coming 
out of all sorts of odd places in the cities. But would the 
owners allow it? And would any fire at all perhaps make it 
dangerous and affect the fire-insurance? Oh, there were so 
many things to think about, and it was all so impossible, of 
course. 

She turned with heavy heart, and let herself down the 
ladder. It was time she went home, for the afternoon was 
well on its way. She could hear the whir of the trolley-car 
going up. She must be out and down the road a little way to 
get the next one that passed it at the switch when it came 
back. 

So with a wistful glance about the big dusty floor she 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 5 

turned away, and went down to the ground floor and out into 
the afternoon sunshine. 

Just as she crossed the knoll and was stepping over the 
broken fence, she saw a clump of clover, and among the tiny 
stems one bearing four leaves. She was not superstitious, 
nor did the clover mean any special omen to her; but she 
stooped, smiling, and plucked it, tucking it into the button- 
hole of her coat, and hurried down the road; for she could 
already hear the returning trolley-car, and she wished to be a 
little farther from the barn before it overtook her. Some- 
how she shrank from having people in the car know where she 
had been, for it seemed like exposing her audacious wish to 
the world. 

Seated in the car, she turned her eyes back to the last 
glimpse of the stone gables and the sweeping branches of the 
budding tree as the car sped down the hill and curved away 
behind another slope. 

After all, it was but half -past four when the car reached 
the city hall. Its route lay on half a mile nearer to the little 
brick house, and she could stay in it, and have a shorter walk 
if she chose. It was not in the least likely anybody would be 
in any office at this hour of the day, anyway ; that is, anybody 
with authority; but somehow Shirley had to signal that car 
and get out, long walk or not. A strong desire seized her to 
put her fate to the test, and either crush out this dream of 
)hers forever, or find out at once whether it had a foundation 
to live. 

She walked straight to the Ward Trust Building and 
searched the bulletin-board in th hallway carefully. Yes, 
there it was, " Graham-Walter Fourth floor front." 

With rapidly beating heart she entered the elevator and 



26 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

tried to steady her voice as she said, " Fourth " ; but it shook 
in spite of her. What was she doing ? How dared she ? What 
should she say when they asked her what she wanted? 

But Shirley's firm little lips were set, and her head had 
that tilt that her mother knew meant business. She had gone 
so far she would see the matter to the finish, even if it was 
ridiculous. For now that she was actually on the elevator 
and almost to the fourth floor it seemed the most extraordinary 
thing in the world for a girl to enter a great business office 
and demand that its head should stoop to rent her an old 
barn out in the country for the infinitesimal sum she could 
offer. He would perhaps think her crazy, and have her put out. 

But she got out of the elevator calmly, and . alked down 
the hall to where a ground-glass door proclaimed in gold 
letters the name she was hunting. Timidly she turned the 
knob, and entered a large room, spacious and high ceiled, 
with Turkish rugs on the inlaid floor, leather chairs, and 
mahogany desks. 

There was no one in the office but a small office-boy, who 
lolled idly on one elbow on the table, reading the funny page 
of the afternoon paper. She paused, half frightened, and 
looked about her appealingly ; and now she began to be afraid 
she was too late. It had taken longer than she had thought 
it would to get here. It was almost a quarter to five by the 
big clock on the wall. No head of a business firm was likely 
to stay in his office so late in the day as that, she knew. Yet 
she could hear the steady click of typewriter keys in an inner 
office; he might have remained to dictate a letter. 

The office-boy looked up insolently. 

" Is Mr. Graham in ? " asked Shirley. 

Which Mr. Graham?" 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 27 

/* hesitating and catching the name on the door, 
"Mr. Walter Graham." 

" No, he isn't here. Never here after four o'clock." The 
boy dropped on his elbow again, and resumed his reading. 

" Oh ! " said Shirley, dismayed now, in spite of her fright, 
as she saw all hope fading from her. " Well, is there another-*- 
I mean is the other Mr. Graham in?" 

Someone stirred in the inner office, and came across to the 
door, looking out, someone with an overcoat and hat on. He 
looked at the girl, and then spoke sharply to the boy, who 
stood up straight as if he had been shot. 

" Edward ! See what the lady wants/' 

" Yes, sir ! " said Edward with sudden respect. 

Shirley caught her breath, and plunged in. 

" I would like to see some Mr. Graham if possible for just 
a moment." There was something self-possessed and busi- 
nesslike in her voice now that commanded the boy's attention. 
Her brief business training was upon her. 

The figure from the inner room emerged, and took off his 
hat. He was a young man and strikingly handsome, with 
heavy dark hair that waved over his forehead and fine, strong 
features. His eyes were both keen and kind. There was 
eomething luminous in them that made Shirley think of 
Doris's eyes when she asked a question. Doris had wonder- 
, fully wise eyes. 

"I am Mr. Sidney Graham," said the young man, ad- 
vancing. "What can I do for you?" 

" Oh, I wanted to ask you about a barn," began Shirley 
eagerly, then stopped abashed. How could she ask this im- 
maculate son of luxury if he would rent a young girl his barn 
to live in during the summer ? She could feel the color mount- 



28 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

ing in her cheeks, and would have turned and fled gladly if 
a way had been open. She was aware not only of the kind 
eyes of the man upon her, but also of the gaping boy taking it 
all in, and her tongue was suddenly tied. She could say no 
more. 

But the young man saw how it was, and he bowed as 
gracefully as if asking about barns was a common habit of 
young women coming into his office. 

" Oh, certainly/' he said ; " won't you just step in here a 
moment and sit down? We can talk better. Edward, you 
may go. I shall not need you any longer this evening." 

" But I am detaining you ; you were just going out ! n 
cried Shirley in a panic. "I will go away now and come 
again perhaps." She would do anything to get away with- 
out telling her preposterous errand. 

" Not at all ! " said young Mr. Graham. ef I am in no 
hurry whatever. Just step this way, and sit down." His tone 
was kindness itself. Somehow Shirley had to follow him. 
Her face was crimson now, and she felt ready to cry. What a 
fool she had been to get herself into a predicament like this ! 
What would her mother say to her ? How could she tell this 
strange young man what she had come for? But he was 
seated and looking at her with his nice eyes, taking in all the 
little pitiful attempts at neatness and style and beauty in her 
shabby little toilet. She was awfully conscious of a loose fluff 
of gold-glinted hair that had come down over one hot cheek 
and ear. How dishevelled she must look, and how dusty after 
climbing over that dirty barn ! And then she plunged into 
her subject. 



CHAPTER 111 

" I'M sure I don't know what you will think of my ask* 
ing/' said Shirley excitedly, " but I want very much to know 
whether there is any possibility that you would rent a beau- 
tiful big stone barn you own out on the old Glenside Road, 
near Allister Avenue. You do own it, don't you ? I was told 
you did, or at least that Mr. Walter Graham did. They said it 
belonged to ' the estate.' " 

" Well, now you've got one on me/' said the young man 
with a most engaging smile. " I'm sure I don't know whether 
I own it or not. I'm sorry. But if it belongs to grandfather's 
estate, his name was Walter, too, you knoi". why, I sup- 
pose I do own part of it. I'm sorry father isn't here. He 
of course knows all about it or the attorney of course he 
would know. But I think he has left the office. However, 
that doesn't matter. What was it you wanted? To rent it, 
you say ? " 

" Yes," said Shirley, feeling very small and very much an 
impostor; "that is, if I could afford it. I suppose perhaps 
it will be way ahead of my means, but I thought it wouldn't 
do any harm to ask." Her shy eyes were almost filled with 
tears, and the young man was deeply distressed. 

" Not at all, not at all," he hastened to say. " I'm just 
stupid that I don't know about it. Where did you say it was ? 
Out on the Glenside Road ? A barn ? Come to think of it, I 
remember one of my uncles lived out that way once, and I know 
there is a lot of land somewhere out there belonging to the 
estate. You say there is a barn on it ? " 

"Yes, a beautiful barn," said Shirley anxiously, her eyes 

20 



30 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

dreamy and her cheeks like two glowing roses. " It is stone, 
and has a wide grassy road like a great staircase leading up 
to it, and a tall tree over it. There is a brook just below, it 
is high up from the road on a little grassy hill." 

" Oh, yes, yes/' he said, nodding eagerly, " I see ! It almost 
seems as if I remember. And you wanted to rent it for the 
summer, you say? You are ah in the agricultural busi- 
ness, I suppose?" He looked at her respectfully. He knew 
the new woman, and honored her. He did not seem at all 
startled that she wanted to rent a barn for the summer. 

But Shirley did not in the least understand. She looked 
at him bewildered a moment. 

" Oh, no ! I am only a stenographer myself but my 
mother that is " she paused in confusion. 

" Oh, I see, your mother is the farmer, I suppose. Your 
home is near by near to the barn you want to rent?" 

Then she understood. 

" No, oh, no ! she said desperately. " We don't want to 
use the barn for a barn at all. I want to use it for a house ! " 

It was out at last, the horrible truth ; and she sat trembling 
to see his look of amazement. 

" Use it for a house ! " he exclaimed. " Why, how could 
you? To live in, do you mean? or just to take a tent and 
camp out there for a few days ? " 

" To live in," said Shirley doggedly, lifting her eyes in one 
swift defiant look and then dropping them to her shabby 
gloves and thin pocketbook, empty now even of the last precious 
nickel. If he said anything more, she was sure she should 
cry. If he patronized her the least little bit, or grew haughty, 
now that he saw how low she was reduced, she would turn and 
fly from the office and never look him in the face. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 31 

But he did neither. Instead, he just talked in a natural 
tone, as if it were the most common thing in the world for a 
girl to want to live in a barn, and nothing to be surprised 
over in the least. 

" Oh, I see/' he said pleasantly. " Well, now, that might 
be arranged, you know. Of course I don't know much about 
things, but I could find out. You see, I don't suppose we 
often have calls to rent the property that way " 

" No, of course not," said Shirley, gathering up her scat- 
tered confidence. " I know it's queer for me to ask, but we 
have to move they are going to build an apartment-house 
where we are renting now, and mother is sick. I should like 
to get her out into the country, our house is so little and dark ; 
and I thought, if she could be all summer where she could see 
the sky and hear the birds, she might get well. I want to get 
my little sisters and brothers out of the city, too. But we 
couldn't likely pay enough rent. I suppose it was silly of me 
to ask." 

" Not at all ! " said the young man courteously, as though 
she had been a queen whom he delighted tc nonor. " I don't 
see why we shouldn't be able to get together on some kind of a 
proposition that is, unless father has other plans that I don't 
know about. A barn ought not to be worth such a big price. 
How much would you feel like paying ? " 

He was studying the girl before him with interested eyes; 
noting the well-set head on the pretty shoulders, even in spite 
of the ill-fitting shabby blue coat; the delicate features; the 
glint of gold in the soft brown hair; the tilt of the firm little 
chin, and the wistfulness in the big blue eyes. This was a 
new kind of girl, and he was disposed to give her what she 
wanted if he could. And he could. He knew well that any- 
thing he willed mightily would not be denied him. 



82 THE ENCHANTED BAKiN 

The frightened color came into the delicate cheeks again, 
and the blue eyes fluttered down ashamedly. 

" We are only paying fifteen a month now," she said ; " and 
I couldn't pay any more, for we haven't got it. I couldn't 
pay as much, for it would cost sixty cents a week apiece for 
George and me to come in to our work from there. I couldn't 
pay more than twelve ! and I know that's ridiculous for such 
a great big, beautiful place, but I had to ask." 

She lifted her eyes swiftly in apology, and dropped them 
again; the young man felt a glow of sympathy for her, and a 
deep desire to help her have her wish. 

" Why, certainly," he said heartily. " Of course you did. 
And it's not ridiculous at all for you to make a business 
proposition of any kind. You say what you can do, and we 
accept it or not as we like. That's our lookout. Now of 
course I can't answer about this until I've consulted father; 
and, not knowing the place well, I haven't the least idea what 
it's worth; it may not be worth even twelve dollars." (He 
made a mental reservation that it should not be if he could 
help it.) " Suppose I consult with father and let you know. 
Could I write or phone you, or will you be around this way 
any time to-morrow ? " 

Shirley's breath was fairly gone with the realization that 
he was actually considering her proposition in earnest. He 
had not laughed at her for wanting to live in a barn, and he 
had not turned down the price she offered as impossible ! He 
was looking at her in a kindly way as if he liked her for 
being frank. 

" Why, yes," she said, looking up shyly, " I can come in 
to-morrow at my noon hour if that would not be too soon. 
I always have a little time to myself then, and it isn't far 
from the office." 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 3 

"That will be perfectly all right for me," smiled young 
Graham. " I shall be here till half -past one, and you can ask 
the boy to show you to my office. I will consult with father 
the first thing in the morning and be ready to give you an 
answer. But I am wondering if you have seen this barn, I 
suppose you have, or you would not want to rent it; but I 
should suppose a barn would be an awfully unpleasant place 
to live, kind of almost impossible. Are you sure you realize 
what the proposition would be ? " 

"Yes, I think so," said Shirley, looking troubled and 
earnest. "It is a beautiful big place, and the outlook is 
wonderful. I was there to-day, and found a door open at the 
back, and went in to look around. The up-stairs middle floor 
is so big we could make several rooms out of it with screens 
and curtains. It would be lovely. We could live in picnic 
style. Yes, I'm sure mother would like it. I haven't told her 
about it yet, because if I couldn't afford it I didn't want to 
disappoint her; so I thought I would wait till I found out; 
but I'm just about certain she would be delighted. And any- 
how we've got to go somewhere." 

"I see," said this courteous young man, trying not to 
show his amazement and delight in the girl who so coolly 
discussed living in a barn with curtains and screens for par* 
titions. He thought of his own luxurious home and his com- 
fortable life, where every need had been supplied even before 
he realized it, and, wondering again, was refreshed in soul by 
this glimpse into the brave heart of the girl. 

" Then I will expect you," he said pleasantly, and, opening 
the door, escorted her to the elevator, touching his hat to 
her as he left her. 

Shirley would not have been a normal girl if she had no* 



34 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

felt the least flutter in her heart at the attention he showed 
her and the pleasant tones of his voice. It was for all the 
world as if she had been a lady dressed in broadcloth and fur. 
She looked down at her shabby little serge suit that had 
done duty all winter with an old gray sweater under it half 
in shame and half in pride in the man who had not let it 
hinder him from giving her honor. He was a man. He must 
be. She had bared her poverty-stricken life to his gaze, and 
he had not taken advantage of it. He had averted his eyes, 
and acted as if it were just like other lives and others* neces- 
sities ; and he had made her feel that she was just as good as 
any one with whom he had to deal. 

Well, it was probably only a manner, a kind of refined, 
courteous habit he had ; but it was lovely, and she was going 
to enjoy the bit of it that had fallen at her feet. 

On the whole, Shirley walked the ten blocks to her nar- 
row little home feeling that she had had a good day. She was 
weary, but it was a healthy weariness. The problem which had 
been pressing on her brain for days, and nights too, did not 
seem so impossible now, and hope was in her heart that some- 
how she would find a way out. It had been good to get 
away from the office and the busy monotony and go out into 
the wide, open out-of-doors. It was good also to meet a real 
nobleman, even if it were only in passing, and on business. 

She decided not to tell her mother and the children of 
her outing yet, not until she was sure there were to be 
results. Besides, it might only worry her mother the more 
and give her a sleepless night if she let out the secret about 
the barn. 

One more little touch of pleasantness there came to make 
this day stand out from others as beautiful. It was when she 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 35 

turned into Chapel Street, and was swinging along rapidly 
in order to get home at her usual time and not alarm he* 
mother, that a car rolled quickly past to the middle of the 
block, and stopped just under a street-light. In a moment 
more a lady came out of the door of a house, entered the ear, 
and was driven away. As she closed the car-door, Shirley 
fancied she saw something drop from the lady's hand. When 
Shirley reached the place she found it waa two great, luscious 
pink rosebuds that must have slipped from the lady's corsage 
and fallen on the pavement. Shirley picked them up almost 
reverently, inhaling their exotic breath, and taking in theil 
delicate curves and texture. Then she looked after the 
limousine. It was three blocks away and just turning into- 
another street. It would be impossible for her to overtake 
it, and there was little likelihood of the lady's returning for 
two roses. Probably she would never miss them. Shirley 
turned toward the house, thinking she ought to take them in, 
but discovered that it bore the name of a fashionable modiste, 
who would, of course, not have any right to the roses, and 
Shirley's conscience decided they were meant by Providence 
for her. So, happily, she hurried on to the little brick 
house, bearing the wonderful flowers to her mother. 

She hurried so fast that she reached home ten minutes 
earlier than usual, and they all gathered around her eagerly 
as if it were some great event, the mother calling half fear- 
fully from her bedroom up-stairs to know whether anything 
had happened. She was always expecting some new calamity 
like sickness, or the loss of their positions by one or the other 
of her children. 

" Nothing at all the matter, mother dear ! " called Shirley 
happily as she hung up her coat and hat, and hugged Doris. 



SO THE ENCHANTED BARN 

" I got off earlier than usual because Mr. Barnard had to go 
away. Just see what a beautiful thing I have brought you 
found it on the street, dropped by a beautiful lady. You 
needn't be afraid of them, for she and her limousine looked 
perfectly hygienic ; and it wasn't stealing, because I couldn't 
possibly have caught her. Aren't they lovely ? " 

By this time she was up in her mother's room, with Doris 
and Carol following close behind exclaiming in delight over 
the roses. 

She kissed her mother, and put the flowers into a glass 
beside the bed. 

" You're looking better to-night, I believe, dear," said the 
mother. " I've been worried about you all day. You were so 
white and tired this morning." 

" Oh, I'm feeling fine, mother dear ! " said Shirley gayly, 
" and I'm going down to make your toast and poach you an 
egg while Carol finishes getting supper. Greorge will be here 
in ten minutes now, and Harley ought to be in any minute. 
He always comes when he gets hungry. My! I'm hungry 
myself ! Let's hurry, Carol. Doris, darling, you fix mother's 
little table all ready for her tray. Put on the white cloth, 
take away the books, set the glass with the roses in the middle 
very carefully. You won't spill it, will you, darling ? " 

Doris, all smiles at the responsibility accorded her, prom- 
ised: " No, I yun't spill it I'll move it tarefully." 

There was something in Shirley's buoyant air that night 
that lifted them all above the cares that had oppressed them 
for weeks, and gave them new hope. She flew around, getting 
the supper things together, making her mother's tray pretty, 
-and taking little extra pains for each one as she had not felt 
able to do before. Carol caught the contagion, and mashed 



THE ENCHANTED BARN S> 

the potatoes more carefully, so that there wasn't a single lump 
in them. 

" Goodness ! But it's been hot in this kitchen all day, 
Shirley/' said Carol. " I had the back door open, but it just 
seemed stifling. I got the ironing all done except a table- 
cloth, and I guess I can finish that this evening. I haven'fc 
got much studying to do for to-morrow. Nellie Waite stopped^ 
and left me my books. I don't believe I'll have to stay at 
home another day this week. Mother says she can get along. 
I can leave her lunch all ready, and Doris can manage." 

Shirley's conscience gave a sudden twinge. Here had she 
been sitting under a lovely tree by a brook, eating her lunch 
and dreaming foolish day-dreams about living in a barn, 
while Carol stayed at home from school and toiled in the 
kitchen! Perhaps she ought to have come home and sent 
Carol back to school. And yet perhaps that nice young Mr. 
Graham would be able to do something ; she would not condemn 
herself until the morrow, anyway. She had tried to do her best. 
She had not gone off there selfishly just to have & good time by 
herself when her dear ones were suffering. It had been for 
their sake. 

Then George came in whistling, and Harley banged in 
gayly a minute later, calling to know whether supper waa 
ready. 

"'Cause I gotta date with the fellas this evening, and I 
gotta beat it," he declared impatiently. 

The shadow of anxiety passed over Shirley's face again at 
that, but she quieted her heart once more with her hopes for 
to-morrow. If her plan succeeded, Harley would be away from 
" the fellas," and wouldn't have so many questionable " dates * 
to worry them all. 



38 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

George was in a hurry, too. 

" Gee, Shirley, I gotta be at the store all evening," he said, 
bolting his food hurriedly. " I wouldn't 'a' come home, only 
I knew you'd worry, and mother gets so upset. Gee, Shirley, 
what we gonta do about a house ? It's getting almost time to 
move. I went to all those places you suggested at noon to-day, 
but there wasn't a vacant spot anywhere. There's some rooms 
on Louden Street, but there's all sorts in the house. Mother 
wouldn't like it. It's dirty besides. I suppose if we look 
long enough we could find rooms ; but we'd have to get along 
with only two or three, for they come awful high. We'd have 
to have three anyway, you girls and mother in one, us boys in 
the other, and one for parlor and kitchen together. Gee ! 
Wouldn't that be fierce ? I oughtta get a better job. We can't 
live that way." 

"Don't worry, George; I think we'll find something bet- 
ter," said Shirley with a hopeful ring in her voice. " I've been 
thinking out a plan. I haven't got it all just arranged in 
my mind yet, but I'll tell you about it pretty soon. You don't 
have school to-morrow night, do you? No, I thought not. 
Well, maybe we can talk it over then. You and I will have to 
go out together and look up a place perhaps," and she smiled 
an encouraging smile, and sent him off to his school happily. 

She extracted a promise from Harley that he would be in 
by nine o'clock, discovered that he was only going to a 
"movie" show around the corner with one of the fellows 
who was going to " stand treat" on account of a wonderful 
ball game they had won, found out where his lessons were for 
the morrow, promised to help him when he returned, and sent 
him away with a feeling of comfort and responsibility to 
return early. She washed the dishes and ironed the table- 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 39 

cloth so Carol could go to her lessons. Then she went up and 
put Doris to bed with a story about a little bird that built a 
nest in a tall, beautiful tree that grew beside the place where 
the little girl lived; a little bird that drank from a little 
running brook, and took a bath on its pebbly shore, and ate 
the crumbs and berries the little girl gave it, and sat all day 
on five little blue eggs. 

Harley came in at five minutes after nine, and did his 
lessons with her help. George came home just as they finished* 
He was whistling, though he looked tired. He said " the 
prof." had been "the limit" all the evening. Shirley fixed 
her mother comfortably for the night, and went at last to her 
own bed, more tired than she had been for weeks, and yet 
more happy. For through it all she had been sustained by a 
hope; inspired by a cultured, pleasant voice, and eyes that 
wanted to help, and seemed to understand. 

As she closed her eyes to sleep, somehow that pleasant voice 
and those kind eyes mingled with her dreams, and seemed to 
promise relief from her great anxieties. 

It was with a feeling of excitement and anticipation that 
she dressed the next morning and hurried away. Something 
was coming, she felt sure, some help for their trying situation. 
She had felt it when she knelt for her usual prayer that morn- 
ing, and it throbbed in her excited heart as she hurried through 
the streets to the office. It almost frightened her to feel so 
sure, for she knew how terrible would be the disappointment 
if she got her hopes too high. 

There was plenty to be done at the office, a great many 
letters to answer, and a telegram with directions from Mr. 
Barnard. But she worked with more ease than for some time, 
and w-i done by half-past eleven. When she took the letter* 



40 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

out to Mr. Clegg to be signed, he told her that she would not 
be needed the rest of the day, and might go at once if she chose. 

She ate her bit of lunch hurriedly, and made herself as 
fresh and tidy as was possible in the office. Then she took her 
way to the fourth floor of the Ward Trust Building. With 
throbbing heart and glowing cheeks she entered the office of 
Walter Graham, and asked for Mr. Sidney Graham. 

The office-boy had evidently received instructions, for he 
bowed most respectfully this time, and led her at -once to the 
inner office. 






CHAPTER IV 

THE afternoon before, when Mr. Sidney Graham had re- 
turned to his office from seeing Shirley to the elevator, he 
stood several minutes looking thoughtfully at the chair where 
she had sat, while he carefully drew on his gloves. 

There had been something interesting and appealing in 
the spirited face of the girl, with her delicate features and 
wistful eyes. He could not seem to get away from it. It had 
left an impression of character and a struggle with forces of 
which in his sheltered life he had had only a vague conception. 
It had left him with the feeling that she was stronger in some 
ways than himself, and he did not exactly like the sensation of 
it. He had always aimed to be a strong character himself; 
and for a young man who had inherited two hundred and 
fifty thousand dollars on coming of age, and double that 
amount two years later, with the prospect of another goodly 
sum when his paternal grandfathers estate was divided, he 
had done very well indeed. He had stuck to business ever 
since leaving college, where he had been by no means a non- 
entity either in studies or in athletics; and he had not been 
spoiled by the adulation that a young man of his good looks 
and wealth and position always receives in society. He had 
taken society as a sort of duty, but had never given it an 
undue proportion of his tune and thoughts. Notably he was 
a young man of fine balance and strong self-control, not given 
to impulsive or erratic likes and dislikes; and he could not 
understand why a shabby little person with a lock of gold over 
one crimson cheek, and tired, discouraged lights in her 
had made so strong an impression upon him. 

41 



42 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

It had been his intention just before Shirley's arrival to 
leave the office at once and perhaps drop in on Miss Harriet 
Hale. If the hour seemed propitious, he would take her for 
a spin in his new racing-car that even now waited in the street 
below; but somehow suddenly his plan did not attract him 
deeply. He felt the need of being by himself. After a turn 
or two up and down his luxurious office he took the elevator 
down to the street floor, dismissed his chauffeur, and whirled 
off in his car, taking the opposite direction from that which 
would have taken him to the Hale residence. Harriet Hale 
was a very pretty girl with a brilliant mind and a royal 
fortune. She could entertain him and stimulate him tremen- 
dously, and sometimes he almost thought the attraction was 
strong enough to last him through life; but Harriet Hale 
would not be able to appreciate his present mood nor explain 
to him why the presence in his office for fifteen minutes of a 
nervy little stenographer who was willing to live in a barn 
ehould have made him so vaguely dissatisfied with himself. 
If he were to try to tell her about it, he felt sure he would 
meet with laughing taunts and brilliant sarcasm. She would 
never understand. 

He took little notice of where he was going, threading his 
way skilfully through the congested portion of the city and 
out into the comparatively empty highways, until at last he 
found himself in the suburbs. The name of the street as he 
slowed up at a grade crossing gave him an idea. Why 
shouldn't he take a run out and hunt up that barn for himself ? 
What had she said about it, where it was ? He consulted the 
memorandum he had written down for his father's edification. 
" Glenside Road, near Allister Avenue." He further searched 
his memory. "Big stone barn, wide approach like a grand 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 4f 

staircase, tall tree overhanging, brook." This surely ought to 
be enough to help him identify it. There surely were not a 
flock of stone barns in that neighborhood that would answer 
that description. 

He turned into Glenside Koad with satisfaction, and set a 
sharp watch for the names of the cross-avenues with a view to 
finding Allister Avenue, and once he stopped and asked a man 
in an empty milk-wagon whether he knew where Allister 
Avenue was, and was informed that it was " on a piece, about 
five miles." 

There was something interesting in hunting up his own 
strange barn, and he began to look about him and try to see 
things with the eyes of the girl who had just called upon him. 

Most of the fields were green with spring, and there was 
an air of things doing over them, as if growing were a business 
that one could watch, like house-cleaning and paper-hanging 
and painting. Graham had never noticed before that the 
great bare spring out-of-doors seemed to have a character all 
its own, and actually to have an attraction. A little later 
when the trees were out, and all the orchards in bloom, and 
the wild flowers blowing in the breeze, he could rave over- 
spring; but he had never seen the charm of its beginnings 
before. He wondered curiously over the fact of his keen 
appreciation now. 

The sky was all opalescent with lovely pastel colors along 
the horizon, and a few tall, lank trees had put on a soft gauze 
of green over their foreheads like frizzes, discernible only to a 
close observer. The air was getting chilly with approaching 
night, and the bees were no longer proclaiming with their 
hum the way to the skunk-cabbages; but a delicate perfume 
was in the air, and though perhaps Graham had never even 



44 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

heard of skunk-cabbages, he drew in long breaths of sweetness, 
and let out his car over the smooth road with a keen delight. 

Behind a copse of fine old willows, age-tall and hoary with 
weather, their extremities just hinting of green, as they stood 
knee-deep in the brook on its way to a larger stream, he first 
caught sight of the old barn. 

He knew it at once by something indefinable. Its sub- 
stantial stone spaciousness, its mossy roof, its arching tree, 
and the brook that backed away from the wading willows, up 
the hillside, under the rail fence, and ran around its side, all 
were unmistakable. He could see it just as the girl had seen 
it, and something in him responded to her longing to live 
there and make it into a home. Perhaps he was a dreamer, 
even as she, although he passed in the world of business for a 
practical young man. But anyhow he slowed his car down 
and looked at the place intently as he passed by. He was 
convinced that this was the place. He did not need to go on 
and find Allister Avenue though he did, and then turned 
back again, stopping by the roadside. He got out of the car, 
looking all the time at the barn and seeing it in the light of 
the girl's eyes. As he walked up the grassy slope to the front 
doors, he had some conception of what it must be to live so 
that this would seem grand as a home. And he showed he was 
not spoiled by his life in the lap of luxury, for he was able to 
get a glimpse of the grandeur of the spot and the dignity of 
the building with its long simple lines and rough old stones. 

The sun was just going down as he stood there looking up. 
It touched the stones, and turned them into jewelled settings, 
glorifying the old structure into a palace. The evening was 
sweet with the voices of birds not far away. One above the 
rest, clear and occasional, high in the elm-tree over the barn, 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 45 

a wood-thrush spilling its silver notes down to the brook that 
echoed them back in a lilt The young man took off his hat 
and stood in the evening air, listening and looking. He could 
see the poetry of it, and somehow he could see the girl's face 
as if she stood there beside him, her wonderful eyes lighted as 
they had been when she told him how beautiful it was there. 
She was right. It was beautiful, and it was a lovely soul that 
could see it and feel what a home this would make in spite of 
the ignominy of its being nothing but a barn. Some dim 
memory, some faint remembrance, of a stable long ago, and 
the glory of it, hovered on the horizon of his mind; but his 
education had not been along religious lines, and he did not 
put the thing into a definite thought. It was just a kind of 
sensing of a great fact of the universe which he perhaps might 
have understood in a former existence. 

Then he turned to the building itself. He was practical, 
after all, even if he was a dreamer. He tried the big padlock. 
How did they get into this thing ? How had the girl got in ? 
Should he be obliged to break into his own barn? 

He walked down the slope, around to the back, and found 
the entrance close to the ladder ; but the place was quite dark 
within the great stone walls, and he peered into the gloomy 
basement with disgust at the dirt and murk. Only here and 
there, where a crack looked toward the setting sun, a bright 
needle of light sent a shaft through to let one see the inky 
shadows. He was half turning back, but reflected that the 
girl had said she went up a ladder to the middle floor. If 
she had gone, surely he could. Again that sense that she was 
stronger than he rebuked him. He got out his pocket flash- 
light and stepped within the gloom determinedly. Holding 
the flash-light above his head, he surveyed his property disap- 



46 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

provingly; then with the light in his hand he climbed ID a 
gingerly way up the dusty rounds to the middle floor. 

As he stood alone in the dusky shadows of the big barn, 
with the blackness of the hay-loft overhead, the darkness 
pierced only by the keen blade of the flash-light and a few 
feebler darts from the sinking sun, the poetry suddenly left 
the old barn, and a shudder ran through him. To think of 
trying to live here ! How horrible ! 

Yet still that same feeling that the girl had more nerve 
than he had forced him to walk the length and breadth of the 
floor, peering carefully into the dark corners and acquainting 
himself fully with the bare, big place; and also to climb part 
V^ay up the ladder to the loft and send his flash-light searching 
through its dusty hay-strewn recesses. 

With a feeling utterly at variance with the place he turned 
away in disgust, and made his way down the ladders again, out 
into the sunset. 

In that short time the evening had arrived. The sky had 
flung out banners and pennants, pencilled by a fringe of fine 
saplings like slender brown threads against the sky. The 
earth was sinking into dusk, and off by the brook the frogs 
were tinkling like tiny answering silver rattles. The smell 
of earth and growing stole upon his senses, and even as he 
gazed about him a single star burned into being in the clear 
ether above him. The birds were still now, and the frogs 
with the brook for accompaniment held the stage. Once more 
the charm of the place stole over him; and he stood with hat 
removed, and wondered no longer that the girl was willing to 
live here. A conviction grew within him that somehow he 
must make it possible for her to do so, that things would not 
be right and as they ought to be unless he did. In fact, he 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 47 

had a curiosity to have her do it and see whether it pould 
be done. 

He went slowly down to his car at last with lingering 
backward looks. The beauty of the situation was undoubted, 
and called for admiration. It was too bad that only a barn 
should occupy it. He would like to see a fine house reared 
upon it. But somehow in his heart he was glad that it was 
not a fine house standing there against the evening sky, and 
that it was possible for him to let the girl try her experiment 
of living there. Was it possible ? Could there be any mistake ? 
Could it be that he had not found the right barn, after all? 
He must make sure, of course. 

But still he turned his car toward home, feeling reasonably 
sure that he had found the right spot ; and, as he drove swiftly 
back along the way, he was thinking, and all his thoughts were 
woven with the softness of the spring evening and permeated 
with its sounds. He seemed to be in touch with nature as he 
had never been before. 

At dinner that night he asked his father : 

" Did Grandfather Graham ever live out on the old Glen- 
;ide Road, father?" 

A pleasant twinkle came in the elder Graham's eyes. 

" Sure ! " he said. " Lived there myself when I was five 
years old, before the old man got to speculating and made his 
pile, and we got too grand to stay in a farmhouse. I can 
remember rolling down a hill under a great big tree, and 
your Uncle Billy pushing me into the brook that ran at the 
foot. We boys used to wade in that brook, and build dams v 
and catch little minnows, and sail boats. It was great sport 
I used to go back holidays now and then after I got old 
enough Co go away to school. We were living in town then. 



48 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

but I used to like to go out and stay at the farmhouse. It 
was rented to a queer old dick; but his wife was a good sort, 
and made the buliiest apple turnovers for us boys and dough- 
nuts! The old farmhouse burned down a year or so ago. 
But the barn is still standing. I can remember how proud 
your grandfather was of that barn. It was finer than any 
barn around, and bigger. We boys used to go up in the loft, 
and tumble in the hay; and once when I was a little kid I 
got lost in the hay, and Billy had to dig me out. I can 
remember how scared I was when I thought I might have to 
stay there forever, and have nothing to eat." 

" Say, father," said the son, leaning forward eagerly, 
"Pve a notion I'd like to have that old place in my share. 
Do you think it could be arranged? The boys won't care, 
I'm sure ; they're always more for the town than the country." 

" Why, yes, I guess that could be fixed up. You just see 
Mr. Dalrymple about it. He'll fix it up. Billy's boy got that 
place up river, you know. Just see the lawyer, and he'll fix 
it up. No reason in the world why you shouldn't have the 
old place if you care for it. Not much in it for money, 
though, I guess. They tell me property's way down out that 
direction now.'' 

The talk passed to other matters, and Sidney Graham said 
nothing about his caller of the afternoon, nor of the trip he 
had taken out to see the old barn. Instead, he took his father'^ 
advice, and saw the family lawyer, Mr. Dalrymple, the first 
thing in the morning. 

It was all arranged in a few minutes. Mr. Dalrymple 
called up the other heirs and the children's guardian. An office- 
boy hurried out with some papers, and carne back with the 
signatures of heirs and guardians, who happened all to be 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 49 

within reach; and presently the control of the old farm was 
formally put into the hands of Mr. Sidney Graham, he having 
signed certain papers agreeing to take this as such and such 
portion of his right in the whole estate. 

It had been a simple matter ; and yet, when at about half- 
past eleven o'clock Mr. Dalrymple's stenographer laid a folded 
paper quietly on Sidney Graham's desk and silently left the 
room, he reached out and touched it with more satisfaction 
ihan he had felt in any acquisition in a long time, not except- 
ing his last racing-car. It was not the value the paper repre- 
sented, however, that pleased him, but the fact that he would 
now be able to do as he pleased concerning the prospective 
tenant for the place, and follow out a curious and interesting 
experiment. He wanted to study this girl and see whether she 
really had the nerve to go and live in a barn a girl with a 
face like that to live in a barn ! He wanted to see what man- 
ner of girl she was, and to have the right to watch her for a 
little space. 

It is true that the morning light might present her in a 
very different aspect from that in which she had appeared 
the evening before, and he mentally reserved the right to turn 
her down completely if she showed the least sign of not being 
all that he had thought her. At the same time, he intended 
to be entirely sure. He would not turn her away without a 
thorough investigation. 

Graham had been greatly interested in the study of social 
science when in college, and human nature interested him at 
all times. He could not but admit to himself that this girl 
had taken a most unusual hold upon his thoughts. 



CHAPTER V 

As the morning passed on and it drew near to the noofl 
hour Sidney Graham found himself almost excited over the 
prospect of the girl's coming. Such foolish fancies as a featf 
lest she might have given up the idea and would not come at 
all presented themselves to his distraught brain, which refused 
to go on its well-ordered way, but kept reverting to the ex* 
pected caller and what he should say to her. When at las? 
she was announced, he drew back his chair from the desk^ 
and prepared to meet her with a strange tremor in his whol* 
bearing. It annoyed him, and brought almost a frown of 
sternness to his fine features. It seemed not quite in keeping 
with his dignity as junior member of his father's firm that he 
should be so childish over a simple matter like this, and he 
began to doubt whether, after all, he might not be doing * 
most unwise and irregular thing in having anything at all te 
do with this girl's preposterous proposition. Then Shirle^ 
entered the office, looked eagerly into his eyes ; and he straight' 
way forgot all his reasoning. He met her with a smile thai 
seemed to reassure her, for she drew in her breath half relieved, 
and smiled shyly back. 

She was wearing a little old crepe de chine waist that she 
had dyed a real apple-blossom pink in the wash-bowl with a 
bit of pink crepe-paper and a kettle of boiling water. The 
collar showed neatly over the shabby dark-blue coat, and 
seemed to reflect apple-blossom tints in her pale cheeks. 
There was something sky-like in the tint of her eyes that gave 
the young man a sense of spring fitness as he looked at her 
contentedly. He was conscious of gladness that she looked aa 
50 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 51 

good to him in the broad day as in the dusk of evening. There 
was still that spirited lift of her chin, that firm set of the 
Bweet lips, that gave a conviction of strength and nerve. He 
reflected that he had seldom seen it in the girls of his ac- 
quaintance. Was it possible that poverty and privation and 
Mg responsibility made it, or was it just innate ? 

"You you have found out?" she asked breathlessly as 
she sat down on the edge of the chair, her whole body tense 
with eagerness. 

"Sure! It's all right," he said smilingly. "You can 
rent it if you wish." 

"And the price ? " It was evident the strain was intense. 

" Why, the price will be all right, I'm sure. It really isn't 
worth what you mentioned at all. It's only a barn, you know. 
We couldn't think of taking more than ten dollars a month, 
if we took that. I must look it over again; but it won't be 
more than ten dollars, and it may be less." 

Young Graham wore his most businesslike tone to say 
this, and his eyes were on the paper-knife wherewith he was 
mutilating his nice clean blotter pad on the desk. 

" Oh ! " breathed Shirley, the color almost leaving her face 
entirely with the relief of his words. " Oh, really ? " 

"And you haven't lost your nerve about living away out 
there in the country in a great empty barn ? " he asked quickly 
to cover her embarrassment and his own, too, perhaps. 

" Oh, no ! " said Shirley with a smile that showed a dimple 
in one cheek, and the star sparks in her eyes. " Oh, no ! It 
is a lovely barn, and it won't be empty when we all get into it." 

"Are there many of you ? " he asked interestedly. Already 
the conversation was taking on a slightly personal tinge, but 
neither of them was at all aware of it. 



5* THE ENCHANTED BARN 

" Two brothers and two sisters and mother," said the girl 
ahjrly. She was so full of delight over finding that she could 
rent the barn that she hardly knew what she was answering. 
She was unconscious of the fact that she had in a way taken 
this strange young man into her confidence by her shy, sweet 
tone and manner. 

" Your mother approves of your plan ? " he asked. " She 
doesn't object to the country ? " 

" Oh, I haven't told her yet," said Shirley. I don't know 
that I shall; for she has been quite sick, and she trusts me 
entirely. She loves the country, and it will be wonderful to 
her to get out there. She might not like the idea of a barn 
befoiehand; but she has never seen the barn, you know, and, 
besides, it won't look like a barn inside when I get it fixed 
up. I must talk it over with George and Carol, but I don't 
think I shall tell her at all till we take her out there and sur- 
prise her. I'll tell her I've found a place that I think she 
will like, and ask her if I may keep it a surprise. She'll be 
willing, and she'll be pleased, I know!" Her eyes were 
smiling happily, dreamily ; the dreamer was uppermost in her 
face now, and made it lovely ; then a sudden cloud came, and 
the strong look returned, with courage to meet a storm. 

" But, anyhow/' she finished after a pause, " we have to 
<go there for the summer, for we've nowhere else to go that we 
can afford ; and anywhere out of the city will be good, even if 
mother doesn't just choose it. I think perhaps it will be 
easier for her if she doesn't know about it until she's there. It 
won't seem so much like not going to live in a house." 

" I see," said the young man interestedly. " I shouldn't 
wonder if you are right. And anyhow I think we can manage 
between us to make it pretty habitable for her." He was speak- 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 53 

ing eagerly and forgetting that he had no right, but a flush 
came into the sensitive girl's cheek. 

" Oh, I wouldn't want to make you trouble," she said. 
"You have been very kind already, and you have made the 
rent so reasonable ! I'm afraid it isn't right and fair ; it i 
such a lovely barn ! " 

" Perfectly fair," said Graham glibly. "It will do the 
barn good to be lived in and taken care of again." 

If he had been called upon to tell just what good it would 
do the barn to be lived in, he might have floundered out of 
the situation, perhaps; but he took care not to make that 
necessary. He went on talking. 

" I will see that everything is in good order, the doors 
made all right, and the windows I that is, if I remember 
rightly there were a few little things needed doing to that 
barn that ought to be attended to before you go in. How soon 
did you want to take possession ? I'll try to have it all ready 
for you." 

" Oh, why, that is very kind," said Shirley. I don't 
think it needs anything; that is, I didn't notice anything, 
but perhaps you know best. Why, we have to leave our house 
the last of this month. Do you suppose we could have the 
rent begin a few days before that, so we could get things moved 
gradually? I haven't much time, only at night, you know." 

"We'll date the lease the first of next month," said the 
young man quickly ; " and then you can put your things in 
any time you like from now on. I'll see that the locks are 
made safe, and there ought to be a partition put in just a 
simple partition, you know at one end of the up-stairs room, 
where you could lock up things. Then you could take them 
up there when you like. I'll attend to that partition at once, 



54 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

The barn needs it. This is as good a time as any to put it in. 
You wouldn't object to a partition? That wouldn't upset 
any of your plans ? " 

He spoke as if it would be a great detriment to the barn 
not to have a partition, but of course he wouldn't insist if she 
disliked it. 

" Oh, why, no, of course not," said Shirley, bewildered. 
"It would be lovely. Mother could use that for her room, 
but I wouldn't want you to do anything on our account that 
you do not have to do anyway." 

" Oh, no, certainly not, but it might as well be done now 
as any time, and you get the benefit of it, you know. I 
shouldn't want to rent the place without putting it in good 
order, and a partition is always needed in a barn, you know, if 
it's to bi a really good barn/' 

It wa , well that no wise ones were listening to that con- 
versation; else they might have laughed aloud at this point 
and betrayed the young man's strategy, but Shirley was all 
untutored in farm lore, and knew less about barns and their 
needs than she did of Sanskrit ; so the remark passed without 
exciting her suspicion. 

" Oh, it's going to be lovely ! " said Shirley suddenly, like 
an eager child, "and I can't thank you enough for being so 
kind about it." 

" Not at all," said the young man gracefully. "And now 
you will want to go out and look around again to make your 
plans. Were you planning to go soon ? I should like to have 
you look the place over again and see if there is anything 1 
else that should be done." 

" Oh, why," said Shirley, " I don't think there could be 
anything else; only I'd like 16 have a key to that big front 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 55 

door, for we couldn't carry things up the ladder very welL 
I was thinking I'd go out this afternoon, perhaps, if I could 
get George a leave of absence for a little while. There's been 
a death in our firm, and the office is working only half-time 
to-day, and I'm off again. I thought I'd like to have George 
see it if possible; he's very wise in his judgments, and mother 
trusts him a lot next to me ; but I don't know whether they'll 
let him off on such short notice." 

" Where does he work? " 

" Farwell and Story's department store. They are pretty 
particular, but George is allowed a day off every three months 
if he takes it out of his vacation ; so I thought I'd try." 

" Here, let me fix that. Harry Farwell's a friend of 
mine." He caught up the telephone. 

" Oh, you are very kind ! " murmured Shirley, quite over- 
come at the blessings that were falling at her feet. 

Graham already had the number, and was calling for 
Mr. Farwell, Junior. 

" That you, Hal ? Oh, good morning ! Have a good time 
last night ? Sorry I couldn't have been there, but I had three 
other engagements and couldn't get around. Say, I want to 
ask a favor of you. You have a boy there in the store I 
want to borrow for the afternoon if you don't mind. His 
name is George Hollister. Could you look him up and send 
him over to my office pretty soon ? It will be a personal favor 
to me if you will let him off and not dock his pay. Thank you ! 
I was sure you would. Return the favor sometime myself if 
opportunity comes my way. Yes, I'll hold the phone till 
you hunt him up. Thank you." 

Graham looked up from the phone into the astonished| 
grateful girl's eyes, and caught her look of deep admiration, 



56 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

which quite confused Shirley for a moment, and put her in a 
terrible way trying to thank him again. 

" Oh, that's all right. Farwell and I went to prep school 
together. It's nothing for him to arrange matters. He says 
it will be all right. Now, what are your plans ? I wonder if 
I can help in any way. How were you planning to go out ? " 

" Oh, by the trolley, of course," said Shirley. How strange 
it must be to have other ways of travelling at one's command ! 

"I did think," she added, half thinking aloud, "that 
perhaps I would stop at the schoolhouse and get my sister. 
I don't know but it would be better to get her judgment about 
things. She is rather a wise little girl." 

She looked up suddenly, and seeing the young man's eyes 
upon her, grew ashamed that she had brought her private 
affairs to his notice ; yet it had seemed necessary to say some- 
thing to fill in this embarrassing pause. But Sidney Graham 
did not let her continue to be embarrassed. He entered into 
her plans just as if they concerned himself also. 

" Why, I think that would be a very good plan," he said. 
" It will be a great deal better to have a real family council 
before you decide about moving. Now I've thought of some- 
thing. Why couldn't you all go out in the car with me and 
my kid sister ? I've been promising to take her a spin in the 
country, and my chauffeur is to drive her down this afternoon 
for me. It's almost time for her to be here now. Your 
brother will be here by the time she comes. Why couldn't 
we just go around by the schoolhouse and pick up your 
sister, and all go out together? I want to go out myself, 
you know, and look things over, and it seems to me that would 
save time all around. Then, if there should be anything you 
want done, you know " 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 5K 

"'Oh, there is nothing I want done/' gasped Shirley. 
" You have been most kind. I couldn't think of asking for 
anything at the price we shall be paying. And we mustn't 
impose upon you. We can go out in the trolley perfectly 
well, and not trouble you." 

" Indeed, it is no trouble whatever when I am going any- 
way." Then to the telephone : " Hello ! He's coming, you 
say? He's on his way? Good. Thank you very much, 
Harry. Good-by ! " 

" That's all right ! " he said, turning to her, smiling. 
"Your brother is on his way, and now excuse me just a 
moment while I phone to my sister." 

Shirley sat with glowing cheeks and apprehensive mind 
while the young man called up a girl whom he addressed as 
"Kid" and told her to hurry the car right down, that he 
wanted to start very soon, and to bring some extra wraps along 
for some friends he was going to take with him. 

He left Shirley no opportunity to express her overwhelm- 
ing thanks, but gave her some magazines, and hurried from 
the room to attend to some matters of business before he left. 



CHAPTER VI 

SHIRLEY sat with shining eyes and glowing cheeks, turn- 
ing over the leaves of the magazines with trembling fingers, 
but unable to read anything, for the joy of what was before 
her. A real automobile ride! The first she had ever had! 
And it was to include George and Carol! How wonderful I 
And how kind in him, how thoughtful, to take his own sister ?l 
and hers, and so make the trip perfectly conventional and 
proper! What a nice face he had! What fine eyes! Hf 
didn't seem in the least like the young society man she knetf 
he must be from the frequent mention she had noticed of hitf 
name in the papers. He was a real gentleman, a real noble- 
man! There were such. It was nice to know of them notf 
and then, even though they did move in a different orbit from 
the one where she had been set. It gave her a happier feeling 
about the universe just to have seen how nice a man could be 
to a poor little nobody when he didn't have to. For of course 
it couldn't be anything to him to rent that barn at ten 
dollars a month ! That was ridiculous ! Could it be that he 
was Chinking her an object of charity ? That he felt sorry for 
her and made the price merely nominal? She couldn't have 
that. It wasn't right nor honest, and it wasn't respectable ! 
That was the way unprincipled men did when they wanted to 
humor foolish little dolls of girls. Could it be that he 
thought of her in any such way? 

Her cheeks flamed hotly and her eyes flashed. She sat up 
very straight indeed, and began to tremble. How was it she 
had not thought of such a thing before? Her mother had 
58 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 59 

warned her to be careful about having anything to do with 
strange men, except in the most distant business way; and 
here had she been telling him frankly all the private affaire 
of the family and letting him make plans for her. How had it 
happened ? What must he think of her? This came of trying 
to keep a secret from mother. She might have known it was 
wrong, and yet the case was so desperate and mother so likely 
to worry about any new and unconventional suggestion. It 
had seemed right. But of course it wasn't right for her to 
fall in that way and allow him to take them all in his car. 
She must put a stop to it somehow. She must go in the 
trolley if she went at all. She wasn't sure but she had better 
call the whole thing off and tell him they couldn't live in 
a barn, that she had changed her mind. It would be so 
dreadful if he had taken her for one of those girls who wanted 
to attract the attention of a young man ! 

In the midst of her perturbed thoughts the door opened 
und Sidney Graham walked in again. His fine, clean-cut 
face and clear eyes instantly dispelled her fears again. His 
bearing was dignified and respectful, and there was something 
in the very tone of his voice as he spoke to her that restored 
her confidence in him and in his impression of her. Her half- 
formed intention of rising and declining to take the ride with 
him fled, and she sat quietly looking at the pictures in the 
magazine with unseeing eyes. 

" I hope you will find something to interest you for a few 
minutes," young Graham said pleasantly. " It won't be long, 
but there are one or two matters I promised father I would 
attend to before I left this afternoon. There is an article in 
that other magazine under your hand there about beautifying 
country homes, bungalows, and the like. It may give you 



*0 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

some ideas about the old barn. I shouldn't wonder if a few 
flowers and vines might do a whole lot/' 

He found the place in the magazine, and left her again; 
and strangely enough she became absorbed in the article be- 
cause her imagination immediately set to work thinking how 
glorious it would be to have a few flowers growing where 
Doris could go out and water them and pick them. She grew 
so interested in the remarks about what flowers would grow 
best in the open and which were easiest to care for that 
she got out her little pencil and notebook that were in her 
<at-pocket, and began to copy somie of the lists, Then 
suddenly the door opened again, and Graham returned 
with George. 

The boy stopped short on the threshold, startled, a white 
Wave of apprehension passing over his face. He did not speak. 
The boy-habit of silence and self-control in a crisis was upon 
him. He looked with apprehension from one to the other. 

Shirley jumped to her feet. 

" Oh, George, I'm so glad you could come ! This is Mr. 
Graham. He has been kind enough to offer to take us in hia 
car to see a place we can rent for the summer, and it was 
through his suggestion that Mr. Farwell let you off for the 
afternoon." 

There was a sudden relaxing of the tenseness in the young 
face and a sigh of relief in the tone as the boy answered : 

"Aw, gee ! That's great ! Thanks awfully for the holiday. 
They don't come my way often. It'll be great to have a ride 
in a car, too. Some lark, eh, Shirley ? " 

The boy warmed to the subject with the friendly grasp the 
young man gave him, and Shirley could see her brother had 
made a good impression ; for young Graham was smiling ap- 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 61 

preciatively, showing all his even white teeth just as if he 
enjoyed the boy's offhand way of talking. 

" I'm going to leave you here for ten minutes more until 
I talk with a man out here in the office. Then we will go," 
said young Graham, and hurried away again. 

" Gee, Shirley ! " said the boy, flinging himself down 
luxuriously in a big leather chair. " Gee ! You certainly did 
give me some start ! I thought mother was worse, or you'd 
got arrested, or lost your job, or something, finding you here 
in a strange office. Some class to this, isn't there ? Look at 
the thickness of that rug ! " and he kicked the thick Turkish 
carpet happily. " Say, he must have some coin ! Who is the 
guy, anyway? How'd ya get onto the tip? You don't think 
he's handing out Vanderbilt residences at fifteen a month, 
do you?" 

" Listen, George. I must talk fast because he may come 
back any minute. Yesterday I got a half-holiday, and in- 
stead of going home I thought I'd go out and hunt a house. I 
took the Glenside trolley ; and, when we got out past the city, 
I heard two men talking about a place we were passing. It 
was a great big, beautiful stone barn. They told who owned 
it, and said a lot about its having such a splendid spring of 
water beside it. It was a beautiful place, George; and I 
couldn't help thinking what a thing it would be for mother 
to be out in the country this summer, and what a wonderful 
house that would make " 

" We couldn't live in a barn, Shirl ! " said the boy, aghast. 

" Wait, George. Listen. Just you don't say that till you 
see it. It's the biggest barn you ever saw, and I guess it 
hasn't been used for a barn in a long time. I got out of tho 
farollev on the way back, and went in. It is iust enormous^ 



OS THE ENCHANTED BARN 

and we could screen off rooms and live like princes. It has 
a great big front door, and we could have a hammock under 
the tree; and there's a brook to fish in, and a big third story 
with hay in it. I guess it's what they call in books a hay-loft. 
If s great." 

" Gee ! " was all the electrified George could utter. " Oh, 
gee!" 

" It is on a little hill with the loveliest tree in front of it, 
and right on the trolley line. We'd have to start a little 
earlier in the morning ; but I wouldn't mind, would you ? " 

" Naw ! " said George, " but could we walk that far ? " 

" No, we'd have to ride, but the rent is so much lower it 
would pay our carfare." 

" Gee ! " said George again, " isn't that great ? And is this 
the guy that owns it ? " 

"Yes, or at least he and his father do. He's been very 
kind. He's taking all this trouble to take us out in his car 
to-day to make sure if there is anything that needs to be done 
for our comfort there. He certainly is an unusual man for 
a landlord." 

" He sure is, Shirley. I guess mebbe he has a case on you 
the way he looks at you." 

"George!" said Shirley severely, the red staining her 
cheeks and her eyes flashing angrily. " George ! That was a 
dreadful thing for you to say. If you ever even think a thing 
like that again, I won't have anything to do with him or the 
place. We'll just stay in the city all summer. I suppose 
perhaps that would be better, anyway." 

Shirley got up and began to button her coat haughtily, as 
if she were going out that minute. 

"Aw, gee, Shirley ! I was just kidding. Can't you take a 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 63 

joke? This thing must be getting on your nerves. I nevei 
saw you so touchy." 

" It certainly is getting on my nerves to have you say a 
thing like that, George/' 

Shirley's tone was still severe. 

"Aw, cut the grouch, Shirley. I tell you I was just 
kidding. 'Course he's a good guy. He probably thinks you're 
oross-eyed, knock-kneed " 

" George ! " Shirley started for the door ; but the irre- 
pressible George saw it was time to stop, and he put out an 
arm with muscles that were iron-like from many wrestlings 
and ball-games with his fellow laborers at the store. 

" Now, Shirley, cut the comedy. That guy 5 !! be coming 
back next, and you don't want to have him ask what's the 
matter, do you? He certainly is some fine guy. I wouldn't 
like to embarrass him, would you? He's a peach of a looker. 
Say, Shirley, what do you figure mother's going to say about 
this?" 

Shirley turned, half mollified. 

" That's just what I want to ask you, George. I don't 
want to tell mother until it's all fixed up and we can show if 
to her. You know it will sound a great deal worse to talk 
about living in a barn than it will to go in and see it all fixed 
up with rugs and curtains and screens and the piano and a 
couch, and the supper-table set, and the sun setting outside 
the open door, and a bird singing in the tree." 

" Gee ! Shirley, wouldn't that be some class ? Say, Shirley, 
don't let's tell her ! Let's just make her Say she'll trust the 
moving to us to surprise her. Can't you kid her along and 
make her willing for that?" 

" Why, that was what I was thinking. If you think there's 



64 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

no danger she will be disappointed and sorry, and think we 
ought to have done something else." 

" What else could we do ? Say, Shirley, it would be great 
to sleep in the hay-loft ! " 

"We could just tell her we were coming out in the 
country for the summer to camp in a nice place where it was 
safe and comfortable, and then we would have plenty of time 
to look around for the right kind of a house for next winter." 

" That's the dope, Shirley ! You give her that. She'll fall 
for that, sure thing. She'll like the country. At least, if 
it's like what you say it is." 

" Well, you wait till you see it." 

" Have you told Caro 1 "* asked George, suddenly sobering. 
Carol was his twin sister, inseparable chum, and companion 
when he was at home. 

"No," said Shirley, "I haven't had a chance; but Mr. 
Graham suggested we drive around by the school and get her. 
Then she can see how she likes it, too ; and, if Carol thinks 
so, we'll get mother not to ask any questions, but just trust 
tons." 

" Gee ! That guy's great. He's got a head on him. Some 
lark, what?" 

" Yes, he's been very kind," said Shirley. "At first I told 
him I couldn't let him take so much trouble for us, but he 
said he was going to take his sister out for a ride " 

"A girl ! Aw, gee ! I'm going to beat it ! " George 
stopped in his eager walk back and forth across the office, 
and seized his old faded cap. 

" George, stop ! You mustn't be impolite. Besides, I 
think she's only a very little girl, probably like Doris. Ht 
jailed her his ' kid sister.'" 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 65 

"H'm! You can't tell. I ain't going to run any risks. 
I better beat it.'' 

But George's further intentions were suddenly brought 
to a finish by the entrance of Mr. Sidney Graham. 

"Well, Miss Hollister," he said with a smile, "we are 
ready at last. I'm sorry to have kept you waiting so long; 
but there was something wrong with one of my tires, and the 
chauffeur had to run around to the garage. Come on, George/* 
he said to the boy, who hung shyly behind now, wary of any 
lurking female who might be haunting the path. " Guess 
you'll have to sit in the front seat with me, and help me 
drive. The chauffeur has to go back and drive for mother. 
She has to go to some tea or other." 

George suddenly forgot the possible girl, and followed his 
new hero to the elevator with a swelling soul. What would 
the other fellows at the store think of him? A whole half- 
holiday, an automobile-ride, and a chance to sit in the front 
and learn to drive ! But all he said was : 

"Aw, gee ! Yes, sure thing ! " 

The strange girl suddenly loomed on his consciousness 
again as they emerged from the elevator and came out on the 
street. She was sitting in the great back seat alone, arrayed 
HI a big blue velvet coat the color of her eyes, and George 
felt at once all hands and feet. She was a slender wisp of a 
thing about Carol's age, with a lily complexion and a wealth 
of gold hair caught in a blue veil. She smiled very prettily 
when her brother introduced her as " Elizabeth." There was 
nothing snobbish or disagreeable about her, but that blue 
velvet coat suddenly made George conscious of his own com- 
mon attire, and gave Shirley a pang of dismay at her own 
little shabby suit. 



66 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

However, Sidney Graham soon covered all differences ii* 
the attire of his guests by insisting that they should don the 
two long blanket coats that he handed them; and somehow 
when George was seated in the big leather front seat, with 
that great handsome coat around his shoulders, he did not 
much mind the blue velvet girl behind him, and mentally 
resolved to earn eitoagh to get Carol a coat like it some day ; 
only Carol's should be pink or red to go with her black eyes 
and pink cheeks. 

After all, it was Shirley, not George, who felt embarrass- 
ment over the strange girl and wished she had not come. She 
was vexed with herself for it, too. It was foolish to let a 
child no older than Carol fluster her so, but the thought of a 
long ride alone on that back seat with the dainty young girl 
actually frightened her. 

But Elizabeth was not frightened. She had been brought 
up in the society atmosphere, and was at home with people 
always, everywhere. She tucked the robes about her guest, 
helped Shirley button the big, soft dark-blue coat about her, 
rem'arking that it got awfully chilly when they were going; 
and somehow before Shirley had been able to think of a single 
word to say in response the conversation seemed to be moving 
along easily without her aid. 

<e Sid says we're going to pick up your sister from her 
echool. I'm so glad ! How old is she ? About my age ? 
Won't that be delightful? I'm rather lonesome this spring 
because all my friends are in school. I've been away at 
boarding-school, and got the measles. Wasn't that too silly 
lor a great big girl like me ? And the doctor said I couldn't 
study any more this spring on account of my eyes. It's terribly 
lonesome. I've been home six weeks now, and I don't know 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 67 

what to do with myself. What' s your sister's name ? Carol ? 
Carol Hollister? That's a pretty name! Is she the only 
sister you have? A baby sister? How sweet! What's her 
name? Oh, I think Doris is the cutest name ever. Doris 
Hollister. Why don't we go and get Doris? Wouldn't she 
like to ride, too? Oh, it's too bad your mother is ill; but 
of course she wouldn't want to stay all alone in the house 
without some of her family." 

Elizabeth was tactful. She knew at a glance that trained 
nurses and servants could not be plentiful in a family where 
the young people wore such plain, old-style garments. She 
gave no hint of such a thought, however. 

" That's your brother," she went on, nodding toward 
George. " I've got another brother, but he's seventeen and 
away at college, so I don't see much of him. Sid's very good 
to me when he has time, and often he takes me to ride. 
We're awfully jolly chums, Sid and I. Is this the school 
where your sister goes? She's in high school, then. The 
third year? My! She must be bright. I've only finished 
my second. Does she know she's going with us? What fun 
to be called out of school by a surprise! Oh, I just know 
I'm going to like her." 

Shirley sat dumb with amazement, and listened to the 
eager gush of the lively girl, wondered what shy Carol would 
say, trying to rouse herself to answer the young questioner in 
the same spirit in which she asked questions. 

Gteorge came out with Carol in a very short time, Carol 
struggling into her coat and trying to straighten her hat, 
while George mumbled in her ear as he helped her clumsily: 

" Some baby doll out there ! Kid, you better preen your 
feathers. She's been gassing with Shirley to beat the band 



68 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

I couldn't hear all they said, but she asked a lot about you. 
You should worry ! Hold up your head, and don't flicker an 
eyelash. You're as good as she is any day, if you don't look 
all dolled up like a new saloon. But she's some looker! 
Pretty as a red wagon! Her brother's a peach of a fellow, 
"He's going to let me run the car when we get out of the 
city limit; and say! Shirley says for me to tell you we're 
going out to look at a barn where we're going to move this 
summer, and you're not to say a word about it's being a barn. 
See ? Get onto that sky-blue-pink satin scarf she's got around 
her head? Ain't she some chicken, though?" 

" Hush, George ! She'll hear you ! " murmured Carol in 
dismay. " What do you mean about a barn ? How could 
we live in a barn ? " 

"You just shut up and saw wood, kid, and you'll see. 
Shirley thinks she's got onto something pretty good." 

Then Carol was introduced to the beautiful blue-velvet 
girl and sat down beside her, wiapped in a soft furry cloak 
of garnet, to be whirled away into a fairy-land of wonder. 



CHAPTER VII 

CAROL and Elizabeth got on very well together. Shirley 
was amazed to see the ease with which her sister entered into 
this new relation, unawed by the garments of her hostess. 
Carol had more of the modern young America in her than 
Shirley, perhaps, whose early life had been more conventionally 
guarded. Carol was democratic, and, strange to say, felt 
slightly superior to Elizabeth on account of going to a public 
school. The high-school girls were in the habit of referring 
to a neighboring boarding-school as " Dummy's Ketreat " ; 
and therefore Carol was not at all awed by the other girl, who 
declared in a friendly manner that she had always been crazy 
to go to the public school, and asked rapid intelligent ques- 
tions about the doings there. Before they were out of the 
city limits the two girls were talking a steady stream, and 
one could see from their eyes that they liked each other. 
Shirley, relieved, settled back on the comfortable cushions, 
and let herself rest and relax. She tried to think how it 
would feel to own a car like this and be able to ride around 
when she wanted to. 

On the front seat George and Graham were already ex- 
cellent friends, and George was gaining valuable information 
about running a car, which he had ample opportunity to 
put into practice as soon as they got outside the crowded 
thoroughfares. 

They were perhaps half-way to the old barn and running 
smoothly on an open road, with no one in sight a long way 
ahead, when Graham turned back to Shirley, leaving George 



70 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

to run the car for a moment himself. The boy's heart 
swelled with gratitude and utmost devotion to be thus trusted* 
Of course there wasn't anything to do but keep things just a/) 
he had been told, but this man realized that he would do it 
and not perform any crazy, daring action to show off. Georgo 
set himself to be worthy of this trust. To be sure, young 
Graham had a watchful <eye upon things, and was taking no 
chances ; but he let the boy feel free, and did not make him 
aware of his espionage, which is a course of action that will 
win any boy to give the best that is in him to any responsibility, 
if he has any best at all. 

It was not the kind of conversation that one would ex- 
pect between landlord and tenant that the young girl and the 
man carried on in these brief sentences now and then. He 
called her attetion to the soft green tint that was spreading 
over the tree-tops more distinctly than the day before ; to the 
lazy little clouds floating over the blue; to the tinting of the 
fields, now taking on every hour new colors ; to the perfume in 
the air. So with pleasantness of passage they arrived at last 
at the old barn. 

Like a pack of eager children they tumbled out of the car 
and hurried up to the barn, all talking at once, forgetting all 
difference in station. They were just young and out on a picnic. 

Graham had brought a key for the big padlock ; and clum- 
sily the man and the boy, unused to such manoeuvres, unlocked 
and shoved back the two great doors. 

"These doors are too heavy. They should have ball 
bearings," remarked young Graham. " I'll attend to that at 
once. They should be made to move with a light touch. I 
declare it doesn't pay to let property lie idle without a tenant, 
there are so many little things that get neglected.* 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 71 

He walked around with a wise air as if he had been an 
active landowner for years, though indeed he was looking at 
everything with strange, ignorant eyes. His standard was a 
home where every detail was perfect, and where necessitiea 
came and vanished with the need. This was his first view 
into the possibilities of " being up against it," as he phrased 
it in his mind. 

Elizabeth in her blue velvet cloak and blue cloudy veil 
stood like a sweet fairy in the wide doorway, and looked 
around with delight. 

" Oh Sid, wouldn't this be just a dandy place for a party? " 
she exclaimed eagerly. " You could put the orchestra over 
in that corner behind a screen of palms, and decorate with 
gray Florida moss and asparagus vine with daffodils wired 
on in showers from the beams, and palms all around the walla, 
and colored electrics hidden everywhere. You could run a wire 
in from the street, couldn't you? the way they did at Uncle 
Andy's, and serve the supper out on the lawn with little 
individual rustic tables. Brower has them, and brings them 
out with rustic chairs to match. You could have the tree 
wired, too, and have colored electrics all over the place. Oh ! 
wouldn't it be just heavenly? Say, Sid, Carol says they are 
coming out here to live, maybe; why couldn't we give them a 
party like that for a house-warming ? " 

Sidney Graham looked at his eager, impractical young 
sister and then at the faces of the three Hollisters, and tried 
not to laugh as the tremendous contrast of circumstances was 
presented to him. But his rare tact served him in good stead 

" Why, Elizabeth, that would doubtless be very delightful ; 
but Miss Hollister tells me her mother has been quite ill, and 
I'm sure, while that might be the happiest thing imaginable 



72 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

for you young iolks, it would be rather trying on an invalid. 
J guess you'll have to have your parties somewhere else for the 
present." 

" Oh ! " said Elizabeth with quick recollection, e ' of 
course ! They told me about their mother. How thoughtless 
of me! But it would be lovely, wouldn't it, Miss HoDister? 
Can't you see it?" 

She turned in wistful appeal to Shirley, and that young 
woman, being a dreamer herself, at once responded with a 
radiant smile: 

" Indeed I can, and it would be lovely indeed, but I've been 
thinking what a lovely home it could be made, too." 

" Yes ? " said Elizabeth questioningly, and looking around 
with a dubious frown. " It would need a lot of changing, I 
should think. You would want hardwood floors, and lots of 
rugs, and some partitions and windows " 

" Oh, no," said Shirley, laughing. " We're not hardwood 
people, dear; we're just plain hard-working people; and all 
Ire need is a quiet, sweet place to rest in. It's going to be 
Just heavenly here, with that tree outside to shade the door- 
way, and all this wide space to walk around in. We live in 
a little narrow city house now, and never have any place to 
get out except the street. We'll have the birds and the brook 
for orchestra, and we won't need palms, because the trees and 
vines will soon be in leaf and make a lovely screen for our 
orchestra. I imagine at night the stars will have almost as 
many colors as electrics." 

Elizabeth looked at her with puzzled eyes, but half 
convinced. 

"Well, yes, perhaps they would," she said, and smiled 
* I've never thought of them that way, but it sounds very 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 7 

pretty, quite like some of Browning's poetry that I don't 
understand, or was it Mrs. Browning? I can't quite 
remember." 

Sidney Graham, investigating the loft above them, stood 
a moment watching the tableau and listening to the con- 
versation, though they could not see him; and he thought 
within himself that it might not be a bad thing for his little 
sister, with her boarding-school rearing, to get near to these 
true-hearted young working people, who yet were dreamers 
and poets, and get her standards somewhat modified by theirs. 
He was especially delighted with the gentle, womanly way in 
which Shirley answered the girl now when she thought 
herself alone with her. 

George nnd Carol had grasped hold of hands and run 
wildly down the slope to the brook after a most casual glance 
at the interior of the barn. Elizabeth now turned her dainty 
high-heeled boots in the brook's direction, and Shirley was left 
alone to walk the length and breadth of her new abode and 
make some real plans. 

The young man in the dim loft above watched her for a 
moment as she stood looking from one wall to the other, 
measuring distances with her eye, walking quickly over to the 
window and rubbing a clear space on the dusty pane with her 
handkerchief that she might look out. She was a goodly 
sight, and he could not help comparing her with the girls he 
knew, though their garments would have far outshone hers. 
Still, even in the shabby dark-blue serge suit she seemed 
lovely. 

The young people returned as precipitately as they had 
gone, and both Carol and George of their own accord joined 
Shirley in a brief council of war. Graham thoughtfully 



74 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

called his sister away, ostensibly to watch a squirrel high in 
the big tree, but really to admonish her about making no 
further propositions like that for the party, as the young 
people to whom he had introduced her were not well off, an<? 
had no money or time for elaborate entertainments. 

"But they're lovely, Sid, aren't they? Don't you like 
them just awfully? I know you do, or you wouldn't have 
taken the trouble to bring them out here in the car with us. 
Say, you'll bring me to see them often after they come here 
to live, won't you ? " 

" Perhaps," said her brother smilingly. " But hadn't you 
better wait until they ask you?" 

" Oh, they'll ask me," said Elizabeth with a charming 
smile and a confident little toss of her head- "I'll make 
them ask me." 

"Be careful, kid," he said, still smiling. "Eemember, 
they won't have much money to offer you entertainment with, 
and probably their things are very plain and simple. You 
may embarrass them if you invite yourself out." 

Elizabeth raised her azure eyes to her brother's face 
thoughtfully for a moment, then smiled back confidently once 
more. 

" Don't you worry, Sid, dear ; there's more than one way. 
I won't hurt their feelings, but they're going to ask me, and 
they're going to want me, and I'm going to come. Yes, and 
you're going to bring me ! " 

She turned with a laughing pirouette, and danced down 
the length of the barn to Carol, catching her hand and 
whirling her after her in a regular childish frolic. 

" Well, do you think we ought to take it ? Do you think 
I dare give my final word without consulting mother? 1 * 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 75 

Shirley asked her brother when they were thus left alone for a 
minute. 

" Sure thing ! No mistake ! It's simply great . You 
couldn't get a place like this if you went the length and 
breadth of the city and had a whole lot more money than 
you have to spend." 

"But remember it's a barn!" said Shirley impressively. 
" Mother may mind that very much." 

" Not when she sees it," said Carol, whirling back to the 
consultation. " She'll think it's the sensiblest thing we ever 
did. She isn't foolish like that. We'll tell her we've found a 
place to camp with a shanty attached, and she can't be dis- 
appointed. I think it'll be great. Just think how Doris can 
run in the grass ! " 

" Yes," put in George. " I was telling Carol down by the 
spring before that girl came and stopped us I think we 
might have some chickens and raise eggs. Harley could do 
that, and Carol and I could raise flowers, and I could take 
? em to town in the morning. I could work evenings." 

Shirley smiled. She almost felt like shouting that they 
agreed with her. The place seemed so beautiful, so almost 
heavenly to her when she thought of the close, dark quarters 
at home and the summer with its heat coming on. 

" We couldn't keep a lodger, and we'd have that much less," 
said Shirley thoughtfully. 

"But we wouldn't have their laundry nor their room- 
work to do," said Carol, " and I could have that much more 
time for the garden and chickens." 

"You mustn't count on being able to make much that 
way," said Shirley gravely. " You know nothing about gar- 
dening, and would probably make a lot of mistakes at firsi; 
anywav." 



W THE ENCHANTED BARN 

"I can make fudge and sandwiches, and take them to 
Bchool to sell," declared Carol stoutly ; " and I'll find out how 
to raise flowers and parsley and little tilings people have to 
have. Besides, there's watercress down by that brook, and 
people like that. We could sell that." 

"Well, we'll see," said Shirley thoughtfully, but you 
mustn't get up toe many ideas yet. If we can only get 
moved and mother is satisfied, I guess we can get along. The 
rent is only ten dollars." 

"Good night! That's cheap enough!" said George, and 
drew a long whistle. Then, seeing Elizabeth approaching, 
he put on an indifferent air, and sauntered to the dusty 
window at the other end of the barn. 

Sidney Graham appeared now, and took Shirley over to 
the east end to ask her just where she thought would be a 
good place to put the partition, and did she think it would 
be a good thing to have another one at the other end just like 
it? And so they stood and planned, quite as if Shirley were 
ordering a ten-thousand-dollar alteration put into her ten- 
dollar barn. Then suddenly the girl remembered her fears; 
and, looking straight up into the interested face of the young 
man, she asked earnestly: 

" You are sure you were going to put in these partitions ? 
You are not making any change on my account? Because I 
couldn't think of allowing you to go to any trouble or expense, 
you know." 

Her straightforward look embarrassed him. 

" Why, I " he said, growing a little flushed. " Why, 

you see I hadn't been out to look things over before. I 
didn't realize how much better it would be to have those 
iwrtitions in, you know. But now I intend to do it right. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 77 

away. Father put the whole thing in my hands to do as I 
pleased. In fact, the place is mine now, and I want to put 
it in good shape to rent. So don't worry yourself in the least 
Things won't go to wrack and ruin so quickly, you know, if 
there is someone on the place." 

He finished his sentence briskly. It seemed quite plausibk 
even to himself now, and he searched about for a change of 
topic. 

"You think you can get on here with the rough floor? 
You might put padding or something under your carpets* 

you know, but it will take pretty large carpets " He 

looked at her dubiously. To his conventional mind every 
step of the way was blocked by some impassable barrier. He 
did not honestly see how she was going to do the thing at all. 

" Oh, we don't need carpets ! " laughed Shirley gayly. 
"We'll spread down a rug in front of mother's bed, and 
another one by the piano, and the rest will be just perfectly 
all right. We're not expecting to give receptions here, you 
know," she added mischievously. " We're only campers, and 
very grateful campers at that, too, to find a nice, clean, 
empty floor where we can live. The only thing that is troubling 
me is the cooking. I've been wondering if it will affect the 
insurance if we use an oil-stove to cook with, or would you 
rather we got a wood-stove and put the pipe out of one of the 
windows ? I've seen people do that sometimes. Of course V?Q 
could cook outdoors on a camp-fire if it was necessary, but it 
might be a little inconvenient rainy days." 

Graham gasped at the coolness with which this slip of a 
girl discoursed about hardships as if they were necessities to 
be accepted pleasantly and without a murmur. She actually 
would not be daunted at the idea of cooking her meals on a fire 



78 THE ENCHANTED BARNT 

out-of-doors ! Cooking indeed ! That was of course a question 
that people had to consider. It had never been a question that 
crossed his mind before. People cooked how did they cook? 
By electricity, gas, coal and wood fires, of course. He had 
never considered it a matter to be called in any way serious. 
But now he perceived that it was one of the first main things 
to be looked out for in a home. He looked down at the 
waiting girl with a curious mixture of wonder, admiration, 
and dismay in his face. 

" Why, of course you will need a fire and a kitchen," he 
said as if those things usually grew in houses without any 
help and it hadn't occurred to him before that they were not 
indigenous to barns. "Well, now, I hadn't thought of that. 
There isn't any chimney here, is there ? H'm ! There ought 
to be a chimney in every barn. It would be better for the 
ah for the ha^, I should think; keep it dry, you know, and 
all that sort of thing. And then I should think it might be 
better for the animals. I must look into that matter." 

" No, Mr. Graham," said Shirley decidedly. " There is no 
necessity for a chimney. We can perfectly well have the pipe 
go through a piece of tin set in the back window if you won't 
object, and we can use the little oil-stove when if s very hot 
if that doesn't affect the insurance. We have a gas stove, 
of course, that we could bring; but there isn't any gas in a 
barn/' 

Graham looked around blankly at the cobwebby walls as if 
expecting gas-jets to break forth simultaneously with his wish. 

" No, I suppose not," he said, " although I should think 
there ought to be. In a barn, you know. But I'm sure there 
will be no objection whatever to your using any kind of a stove 
that will work here. This is a stone barn, you know, and I'm 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 7S 

sure it won't affect the insurance. I'll find out and let you 
know." 

Shirley felt a trifle uneasy yet about those partitions and 
the low price of the rent, but somehow the young man had 
managed to impress her with the fact that he was under no 
unpleasant delusions concerning herself and that he had the 
utmost respect for her. He stood looking down earnestly at 
her for a moment without saying a word, and then he began 
hesitatingly. 

" I wish you'd let me tell you," he said frankly, " how 
awfully brave you are about all this, planning to come out 
here in this lonely place, and not being afraid of hard work, 
and rough floors, and a barn, and even a fire out-of-doors." 

Shirley's laugh rang out, and her eyes sparkled. 

"Why, it's the nicest thing that's happened to me in 
ages," she said joyously. "I can't hardly believe it's true 
that we can come here, that we can really afford to come to 
a great, heavenly country place like this. I suppose of course 
there'll be hard things. There always are, and some of them 
have been just about unbearable, but even the hard things 
can be made fun if you try. This is going to be grand ! " 
and she looked around triumphantly on the dusty rafters and 
rough stone walls with a little air of possession. 

" You are rather " he paused " unusual ! " he finished 
thoughtfully as they walked toward the doorway and stood 
looking off at the distance. 

But now Shirley had almost forgotten him in the excite- 
ment of the view. 

"Just think of waking up to that every morning," she 
declared with a sweep of her little blue-elad arm toward the 
view in the distance. "Those purply hills, the fringe of 



80 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

brown and green against the horizon, that white spire nestling 
among those evergreens! Is that a church? Is it near 
enough for us to go to? Mother wouldn't want us to be too 
far from church/' 

" We'll go home that way and discover/' said Graham 
decidedly. " You'll want to get acquainted with your new 
neighborhood. You'll need to know how near there is a 
store, and where your neighbors live. We'll reconnoitre a 
ttttle. Are you ready to go ? " 

" Oh, yes. I'm afraid we have kept you too long already, 
and we must get home about the time Carol usually comes 
from school, or mother will be terribly worried. Carol is never 
later than half-past four." 

" We've plenty of time," said the driver of the car, looking 
at his watch and smiling assurance. " Call the children, and 
we'll take a little turn around the neighborhood before we go 
back." 

And so the little eager company were reluctantly per- 
suaded to climb inta the car again and start on their way. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE car leaped forward up the smooth white road, and the 
great barn as they looked back to it seemed to smile pleasantly 
to them in farewell. Shirley looked back, and tried to think 
how it would seem to come home every night and see Doris 
standing at the top of the grassy incline waiting to welcome 
her; tried to fancy her mother in a hammock under the big 
tree a little later when it grew warm and summery, and the 
boys working in their garden. It seemed too heavenly to 
be true. 

The car swept around the corner of Allister Avenue, and 
curved down between tall trees. The white spire in the dis- 
tance drew nearer now, and the purplish hills were off at one 
side. The way was fresh with smells of spring, and every- 
where were sweet scents and droning bees and croaking frogs. 
The spirit of the day seemed to enter into the young people 
and make them glad. Somehow all at once they seemed to 
have known one another a long time, and to be intimately 
acquainted with one another's tastes and ecstasies. They ex- 
claimed together over the distant view of the misty city with 
the river winding on its far way, and shouted simultaneously 
over a frightened rabbit that scurried across the road and hid 
in the brushwood ; and then the car wound round a curve and 
the little white church swept into view below them. 

"The little white church in the valley 
Is bright with the blossoms of May, 
And true is the heart of your lover 

Who waits for your coming to-day! " 
6 81 



8* THE ENCHANTED BARN 

chanted forth George in a favorite selection of the department- 
store victrola, and all the rest looked interested. It was a 
pretty church, and nestled under the hills as if it were part 
of the landscape, making a home-centre for the town. 

"We can go to church and Sunday-school there/' said 
Shirley eagerly. " How nice ! That will please mother ! " 

Elizabeth looked at her curiously, and then speculatively 
toward the church. 

" It looks awfully small and cheap/' said Elizabeth. 

"All the more chance for us to help ! " said Shirley. " It 
will be good for us/' 

" What could you do to help a church ? " asked the won- 
dering Elizabeth. " Give money to paint it ? The paint is all 
scaling off." 

" We couldn't give much money/' said Carol, " because we 
haven't got it. But there's lots of things to do in a church 
besides giving. You teach in Sunday-school, and you wait 
on table at suppers when they have Ladies' Aid." 

" Maybe they'll ask you to play the organ, Shirley," sug- 
gested George. 

"Oh George!" reproved Shirley. "They'll have plenty 
that can play better than I can. Eemember I haven't had 
time to practise for ages." 

" She's a crackerjack at the piano ! " confided George to 
Graham in a low growl. u She hasn't had a lesson since 
father died, but before that she used to be at it all the time. 
She c'n sing too. You oughtta hear her." 

"I'm sure I should like to," assented Graham heartily. 
u I wonder if you will help me get her to sing sometime if I 
come out to call after you are settled." 

" Sure ! " said George heartily, " but she mebbe won't do 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 88 

it. She's awful nutty about singing sometimes. She's not 
etuck on herself nor nothing." 

But the little white church was left far behind, and the 
city swept on apace. They were nearing home now, and 
Graham insisted on knowing where they lived, that he might 
put them down at their door. Shirley would have pleaded an 
errand and had them set down in the business part of the 
town; but George airily gave the street and number, and 
Shirley could not prevail upon Graham to stop at his office 
and let them go their way. 

And so the last few minutes of the drive were silent for 
Shirley, and her cheeks grew rosy with humiliation over the 
dark little narrow street where they would presently arrive. 
Perhaps when he saw it this cultured young man would think 
they were too poor and common to be good tenants even for a 
barn. But, when they stopped before the little two-story brick 
house, you would not have known from the expression on the 
young man's face as he glanced at the number but that the 
house was a marble front on the most exclusive avenue in the 
city. He handed down Shirley with all the grace that he 
would have used to wait upon a millionaire's daughter, and 
she liked the way he helped out Carol and spoke to George as 
if he were an old chum. 

" I want you to come and see me next Saturday," called 
Elizabeth to Carol as the car glided away from the curb ; " and 
I'm coming out to help you get settled, remember ! " 

The brother and two sisters stood in front of their little 
old dark house, and watched the elegant car glide away. They 
were filled with wonder at themselves that they had been all 
the afternoon a part of that elegant outfit. Was it a dream ? 
They rubbed their eyes as the car disappeared around the 



84 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

corner, and turned to look up at the familiar windows and 
make sure where they were. Then they stood a moment to 
decide how they should explain to the waiting mother why 
fchey happened to be home so early. 

It was finally decided that George should go to hunt up a 
drayman and find out what he would charge to move their 
things to the country, and Shirley should go to a neighbor's 
to inquire about a stove she heard they wanted to sell. Then 
Carol could go in alone, and there would be nothing to ex- 
plain. There was no telling when either George or Shirley 
would have a holiday again, and it was as well to get these 
things arranged as soon as possible. 

Meantime Elizabeth Graham was eagerly interviewing her 
brother, having taken the vacant front seat for the purpose. 

" Sid, where did you find those perfectly dear people ? I 
think they are just great ! And are they really going to live in 
that barn ? Won't that be dandy ? I wish mother'd let me go 
out and spend a month with them. I mean to ask her. That 
Carol is the nicest girl ever. She's just a dear ! " 

" Now, look here, kid/' said Graham, facing about to his 
sister. "I want you to understand a thing or two. I took 
you on this expedition because I thought I could trust you. 
See?" 

Elizabeth nodded. 

" Wll, I don't want a lot of talk at home about this. Do 
you understand ? I want you to wait a bit and go slow. If 
things seem to be aii right a little later on, you can ask Carol 
to come and bee you, perhaps; but you'll have to look out. 
She hasn't fine clothes to go visiting in, I imagine, and they're 
pretty proud. I guess they've lost their money. Their father 
died a couple of years ago, and they've been up against it. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 85 

They do seem like awfully nice people, I'll admit; and, if it's 
all right later on, you can get to be friends, but you'll have to 
go slow. Mother wouldn't understand it, and she mustn't be 
annoyed, you know. I'll take you out to see them sometime 
when they get settled if it seems all right, but meantime can 
you keep your tongue still ? " 

Elizabeth's face fell, but she gave her word immediately. 
She and her brother were chums ; it was easy to see that. 

" But can't I have her out for a week-end, Sid ? Can't I 
tell mother anything about her ? I could lend her some dresses, 
you know." 

" You go slow, kid, and leave the matter to me. I'll tell 
mother about them pretty soon when I've had a chance to see 
a little more of them and am sure mother wouldn't mind. 
Meantime, don't you fret. I'll take you out when I go on 
business, and you shall see her pretty soon again." 

Elizabeth had to be content with that. She perceived that 
for some reason her brother did not care to have the matter 
talked over in the family. She knew they would all guy him 
about his interest in a girl who wanted to rent his barn, and 
she felt herself that Shirley was too fine to be talked about in 
that way. The family wouldn't understand unless they saw her. 

" I know what you mean, Sid/' she said after a thoughtful 
pause. " You want the folks to see them before they judge 
what they are, don't you? " 

" That's just exactly the point," said Sidney with a glean 
of satisfaction in his eyes. " That's just what makes you such 
a good pal, kid. You always understand." 

The smile dawned again in Elizabeth's yes, and she patted 
aer brother's sleeve. 



86 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

" Good old Sid ! " she murmured tenderly. " You're all 
right. And I just know you're going to take me out to that 
barn soon. Aren't you going to fix it up for them a little? 
They can't live there that way. It would be a dandy place to 
live if the windows were bigger and there were doors like a 
house, and a piazza, and some fireplaces. A great big stone 
fireplace in the middle there opposite that door! Wouldn't 
that be sweet? And they'll have to have electric lights and 
some bathrooms, of course." 

Her brother tipped back his head, and laughed. 

" I'm afraid you wouldn't make much of a hand to live 
in a barn, kid," he said. " You're too much of an aristocrat. 
How much do you want .for your money ? My dear, they don't 
expect tiled bathrooms, and electric lights, and inlaid floors 
when they rent a barn for the summer." 

" But aren't you going to do anything, Sid ? " 

" Well, I can't do much, for Miss Hollister would suspect 
right away. She's very businesslike, and she has suspicions 
already because I said I was going to put in partitions. She 
isn't an object of charity, you know. I imagine they are aU 
pretty proud." 

Elizabeth sat thoughtful and still. It was the first time ID 
her life she had contemplated what it would be to be very poor. 

Her brother watched her with interest. He had a feeling 
that it was going to be very good for Elizabeth to know these 
Hollisters. 

Suddenly he brought the car to a stop before the office of a 
big lumber-yard they were passing. 

" I'm going in here, kid, for just a minute, to see if I caa 
get a man to put in those partitions." 

Elizabeth sat meditatively studying the office window 
through whose large dusty panes could be seen tall strips of 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 87 

moulding, unpainted window-frames, and a fluted column or 
two, evidently ready to fill an order. The sign over the door 
et forth that window-sashes, doors, and blinds were to be had 
Suddenly Elizabeth sat up straight and read the sign again, 
gtrained her eyes to see through the window, and then opened 
the car door and sprang out. In a moment more she stood 
beside her brother, pointing mutely to a large window-frame 
that stood against the wall. 

"What is it, kid?" he asked kindly. 

" Sid, why can't you put on great big windows like that ? 
They would never notice the windows, you know. It would 
be so nice to have plenty of light and air." 

" That's so/' he murmured. " I might change the windows 
some without its being noticed." 

Then to the man at the desk: 

" What's the price of that window f Got any more ? " 

" Yes," said the man, looking up interested ; " got half a 
dozen, made especially for a party, and then he wasn't pleased. 
Claimed he ordered sash-winders 'stead of casement. If you 
can use these six, we'll make you a special price." 

"Oh, take them, Sid! They're perfectly lovely," said 
Elizabeth eagerly. " They're casement windows with diamond 
panes. They'll just be so quaint and artistic in that stone ! " 

" Well, I don't know how they'll fit," said the young man 
doubtfully. " I don't want to make it seem as if I was trying 
to put on too much style." 

" No, Sid, it won't seem that way, really. I tell you they'll 
never notice the windows are bigger, and casement windows 
aren't like a regular house, you know. See, they'll open 
wide like doors. I think it would be just grand ! " 

"All right, kid, we'll see ! We'll take the man out with 
Us; and, if he says it can be done, I'll take them."" 



88 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

Elizabeth was overjoyed. 

"That's just what it needed!" she declared- "They 
couldn't live in the dark on rainy days. You must put two 
in the front on each side the door, and one on each end. 
The back windows will do well enough." 

" Well, come on, kid. Mr. Jones is going out with me at 
once. Do you want to go with us, or shall I call a taxi and 
send you home ? " asked her brother. 

" I'm going with you, of course," said Elizabeth eagerly, 
hurrying out to the car as if she thought the thing would be 
done all wrong without her. 

So Elizabeth sat in the back seat alone, while her brother 
and the contractor discoursed on the price of lumber and the 
relative values of wood and stone for building-purposes, and 
the big car went back over the way it had been before that 
afternoon. 

They stopped on the way out, and picked up one of Mr. 
Jones's carpenters who was just leaving a job with his kit of 
tools, and who climbed stolidly into the back seat, and sat as 
far away from the little blue-velvet miss as possible, all the 
while taking furtive notes to tell his own little girl about 
her when he went home. 

Elizabeth climbed out, and went about the barn with 
them, listening to all they had to say. 

The tvo men took out pencils and foot rules, and went 
around measuring and figuring. Elizabeth watched them with 
bright, attentive eyes, putting a whispered suggestion now and 
then to her brother. 

" They can't go up and down a ladder all the time," she 
whispered. "There ought to be some rough stairs with a 
railing, at least as good as our back stairs at home." 

"How about it?" said Graham aloud to the contractor. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 89 

"Can you put in some steps, just rough ones, to the left? 
I'm going to have a party out here camping for a while this 
summer, and I want it to be safe. Need a railing, you know, 
so nobody will get a fall." 

The man. measured the space up with his eye. 

" Just want plain steps framed up with a hand-rail ? " he 
said, squinting up again. " Guess we better start 'em up this 
way to the back wall and then turn back from a landing. 
That'll suit the overhead space best. Just pine, you want 
'em, I s'pose?" 

Elizabeth stood like a big blue bird alighted on the door- 
sill, watching and listening. She was a regular woman, and 
saw big possibilities in the building. She would have enjoyed 
ordering parquetry flooring and carved newel-posts and mak- 
ing a regular palace. 

The sun was setting behind the purply hill and sending 
a glint from the weather-vane on the little white church spire 
when they started back to the city. Elizabeth looked wistfully 
toward it, and wondered about the rapt expression on Shirley's 
face when she spoke of " working " in the church. How could 
one get any pleasure out of that ? She meant to find out. At 
present her life was rather monotonous, and she longed to have 
some new interests. 

That night after she had gone to her luxurious little couch 
jshe lay in her downy nest, and tried to think how it would be 
vto live in that big barn and go to sleep up in the loft, lying 
on that hay. Then suddenly the mystery of life was upon 
her with its big problems. Why, for instance, was she born 
into the Graham family with money and culture and all the 
good times, and that sweet, bright Carol-girl born into the 
Hollister family where they had a hard time to live at all? 



CHAPTEE IX 

QUITE early the next morning Sidney Graham was in his 
office at the telephone. He conferred with the carpenter, 
agreeing to meet him out at the barn and make final arrange- 
ments about the windows in a very short time. Then he 
called up the trolley company and the electric company, and 
made arrangements with them to have a wire run from the 
road to his barn, with a very satisfactory agreement whereby 
he could pay them a certain sum for the use of as much light 
as he needed. This done, he called up an electrician, and 
arranged that he should send some men out that morning to 
wire the barn. 

He hurried through his morning mail, giving his ste- 
nographer a free hand with answering some of the letters, 
and then speeded out to Glenside. 

Three men were already there, two of them stone-masons, 
working away under the direction of the contractor. Thej 
had already begun working at the massive stone around the 
windows, striking musical blows from a light scaffolding that 
made the old barn look as if it had suddenly waked up and 
gone to house-cleaning. Sidney Graham surveyed it with 
satisfaction as he stopped his car by the roadside and got out. 
He did delight to have things done on time. He decided that 
if this contractor did well on the job he would see that he got 
bigger things to do. He liked it that his work had beeD 
begun at once. 

The next car brought a quartette of carpenters, and before 
young Graham went back to the city a motor-truck had 
90 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 91 

arrived loaded with lumber and window-frames. It was all 
very fascinating to him, this new toy barn that had suddenly 
come into his possession, and he could hardly tear himself 
away from it and go back to business. One would not have 
supposed, perhaps, that it was so very necessary for him to 
do so, either, seeing that he was already so well off that he 
really could have gotten along quite comfortably the rest of 
his life without any more money; but he was a conscientious 
young man, who believed that no living being had a right to 
exist in idleness, and who had gone into business from a 
desire to do his best and keep up the honorable name of his 
father's firm. So after he had given careful directions for 
the electric men when they should come he rushed back to his 
office once more. 

The next two days were filled with delightful novelties. 
He spent much time flying from office to barn and back to 
the office again, and before evening of the second day he had 
decided that a telephone in the barn was an absolute necessity^ 
at least while the work was going on. So he called up the 
telephone company, and arranged that connection should be 
put in at once. That evening he wrote a short note \o Miss 
Shirley Hollister, telling her that the partitions were under 
way and would soon be completed, and that in a few days he 
would send her the key so that she might begin to transport 
jher belongings to the new home. 

The next morning, when Graham went out to the stone 
barn, he found that the front windows were in, and gave a 
very inviting appearance to the edifice, both outside and in. 
As Elizabeth had surmised, the big latticed windows opening 
inwards like casement doors seemed quite in keeping with the 
rough stone structure. Graham began to wonder why all 



92 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

barns did not affect this style of window, they were so entirely 
attractive. He was thoroughly convinced that the new tenants 
would not be likely to remember or notice the difference in 
the windows; he was sure he shouldn't have unless his atten- 
tion had been called to them in some way. Of course the sills 
and sashes were rather new-looking, but he gave orders that 
they should at once be painted an unobtrusive dark green 
which would well accord with the mossy roof, and he trusted 
his particular young tenant would not think that he had 
done anything pointed in changing the windows. If she did, 
he would have to think up some excuse. 

But, as he stood at the top of the grassy slope and looked 
about, he noticed the great pile of stones under each window, 
from the masonry that had been torn away to make room for 
the larger sashes, and an idea came to him. 

" Mr. Jones ! " he called to the contractor, who had just 
come over on the car to see how the work was progressing. 
" Wouldn't there be stones enough all together from all the 
windows to build some kind of a rude chimney and fireplace ? " 
he asked. 

Mr. Jones thought there would. There were stones enough 
down in the meadow to piece out with in case they needed 
more, anyway. Where would Mr. Graham want the fire- 
place? Directly opposite the front doors? He had thought 
of suggesting that himself, but didn't know as Mr. Graham 
wanted to go to any more expense. 

" By all means make that fireplace ! " said the young 
owner delightedly. " This is going to be a jolly place when 
it gets done, isn't it? I declare I don't know but I'd like to 
come out here and live." 

" It would make a fine old house, sir," said the contractor 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 98 

respectfully, looking up almost reverently at the barn. " I'd 
like to see it with, verandys, and more winders, and a few 
such. You don't see many of these here old stone buildings 
around now. They knew how to build 'em substantial in 
those old times, so they did." 

"H'm! Yes. It would make a fine site for a house, 
wouldn't it? " said the young man, looking about thoughtfully. 
"Well, now, we'll have to think about that sometime, per- 
haps. However, I think it looks very nice for the present " ; 
and he walked about, looking at the improvements with great 
satisfaction. 

At each end of the barn a good room, long and narrow, 
had been partitioned off, each of which by use of a curtain 
would make two very large rooms, and yet the main section 
of the floor looked as large as ever. A simple stairway of 
plain boards had been constructed a little to one side of the 
middle toward the back, going up to the loft, which had been 
made safe for the children by a plain rude railing consisting 
of a few uprights with strips across. The darkening slats at 
the small windows in the loft had been torn away and shutters 
substituted that would open wide and let in air and light 
Kough spots in the floor had been mended, and around the 
great place both up-stairs and down, and even down in the 
basement underneath, electric wires ran with simple lights 
and switches conveniently arranged, so that if it became desir- 
able the whole place could be made a blaze of light. The 
young man did not like to think of this family of unprotected 
women and children coming out into the country without all 
the arrangements possible to make them feel safe. For this 
reason also he had established the telephone. He had talked 
it over with the agent, paying a certain sum for its instaila- 



94 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

tion, and had a telephone put in that they could pay for 
whenever they desired to use it. This would make the young 
householder feel more comfortable about leaving her mother 
out in the country all day, and also prevent her pride from 
being hurt. The telephone was there. She need not use it 
unless necessity arose. He felt he could explain that to her. 
If she didn't like it, of course she could have it taken away. 

There were a lot more things he would like to do to make 
the place more habitable, but he did not dare. Sometimes 
even now his conscience troubled him. What did he know 
about these people, anyway? and what kind of a flighty youth 
was he becoming that he let a strange girl's appealing face 
drive him to such lengths as he was going now? Telephone, 
and electric lights, and stairs, and a fireplace in a barn ! It 
was all perfectly preposterous; and, if his family should hear 
of it, he would never hear the last of it ; that he was certain. 

At such times he would hunt up his young sister and cany 
her off for a long drive in the car, always ending up at Glen- 
side Road, where she exclaimed and praised to his heart's 
satisfaction, and gave anew her word not to tell anybody a 
thing about it until he was ready. 

Indeed, Elizabeth was wild with delight. She wanted to 
hunt up some of her mother's old Turkish rugs that were 
put away in dark closets, to decorate the walls with pictures 
and bric-a-brac from her own room, and to smother the place 
in flowering shrubs for the arrival of the tenants; but her 
brother firmly forbade anything more being done. He waited 
with fear and trembling for the time when the clear-eyed 
young tenant should look upon the changes he had already 
made; for something told him she would not stand charity, 
and there was a point beyond which he must not go if h 
wished ever to see her again. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 95 

At last one morning he ventured to call her up on the 
telephone at her office. 

" My sister and I were thinking of going out to see how 
things are progressing at the Glenside place," he said after 
he had explained who he was. " I was wondering if you 
would care to come along and look things over. What time 
do you get through at your office this afternoon?" 

" That is very kind of you, Mr. Graham," said Shirley, 
" but I'm afraid that won't be possible. I'm not usually done 
until half-past five. I might get through by five, but not much 
sooner, and that would be too late for you." 

" Not at all, Miss Hollister. That would be a very agree- 
able time. I have matters that will keep me here quite late 
to-night, and that will be just right for me. Shall I call for 
you, then, at five ? Or is that too soon ? " 

" Oh, no, I can be ready by then, I'm sure," said Shirley 
with suppressed excitement. "You are very kind " 

" Not at all. It will be a pleasure," came the answer. 
" Then I will call at your office at five," and the receiver 
clicked at the other end, leaving Shirley in a whirl of doubt 
and joy. 

How perfectly delightful! And yet ought she to go? 
Would mother think it was all right? His little sister was 
going, but was it quite right for her to accept this much 
attention even in a business way ? It wasn't at all customary 
or necessary, and both he and she knew it. He was just doing 
it to be nice. 

And then there was mother. She must send a message 
somehow, or mother would be frightened when she did not 
oome home at her usual time. 

She finally succeeded in getting Carol at her school, anci 



96 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

told her to tell mother she was kept late and might not be 
home till after seven. Then she flew at her work to get it 
out of the way before five o'clock. 

But, when she came down at the appointed time, she found 
Carol sitting excitedly in the back seat with Elizabeth, fairly 
bursting with the double pleasure of the ride and of surprising 
her sister. 

" They came to the school for me, and took me home ; and 
I explained to mother that I was going with you to look at a 
place we were going to move to. I put on the potatoes, and 
put the meat in the oven, and mother is going to tell George 
just what to do to finish supper when he gets home," she 
exclaimed eagerly. "And, oh, isn't it lovely ? " 

" Indeed it is lovely/ 7 said Shirley, her face flushing with 
pleasure and her eyes speaking gratitude to the young man 
in the front seat who was opening the door for her to step 
in beside him. 

That was a wonderful ride. 

The spring had made tremendous advances in her work 
during the ten days since they went that way before. The 
flush of green that the willows had worn had become a soft, 
bright feather of foliage, and the maples had sent out crimson 
tassels to offset them. Down in the meadows and along the 
roadside the grass was thick and green, and the bare brown 
fields had disappeared. Little brooks sang tinklingly as they 
glided under bridges, and the birds darted here and there in 
busy, noisy pairs. Frail wavering blossoms starred the swampy 
places, and the air was sweet with scents of living things. 

But, when they came in sight of the barn, Elizabeth and 
her brother grew silent from sheer desire to talk and not act 
as if there was anything different about it. Now that they 



THE ENCHANTED BABN 91 

had actually brought Shirley here, the new windows seemed 
fairly to flaunt themselves in their shining mossy paint and 
their vast extent of diamond panes, so that the two con- 
spirators were deeply embarrassed, and dared not face what 
they had done. 

It was Carol who broke the silence that had come upon 
them all. 

" Oh ! Oh ! Oh ! " she shouted. " Shirley, just look ! New, 
great big windows ! Isn't that great ? Now you needn't worry 
whether it will be dark for mother days when she can't go 
out ! Isn't that the best ever? " 

But Shirley looked, and her cheeks grew pink as her eyes 
grew starry. She opened her lips to speak, und then closed 
them again, for the words would not come, and the tears 
jame instead; but she drove them back, ard then managed 
to say: 

" Oh, Mr, Graham ! Oh, you have gone to so much 
trouble!" 

" No, no trouble at all/' said he almost crossly ; for he had 
wanted her not to notice those windows, at least not yet. 

" You see it was this way. The windows were some that 
were left over from another order, and I got a chance to get 
them at a bargain. I thought they might as well be put in 
now as any time and you get the benefit of them. The barn 
really needed more light. It was a very dark barn indeed. 
Hadn't you noticed it? I can't see how my grandfather 
thought it would do to have so little light and air. But you 
know in the old times they didn't use to have such advanced 

ideas about ventilation and germs and things " He felt 

he was getting on rather famously until he looked down at 
the clear eyes of the girl, and knew she was seeing right 



98 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

straight through all his talk. However, she hadn't the fact 
to tell him so; and so he boldly held on his way, making 
up fine stories about things that barns needed until he ail 
but believed them himself; and, when he got through, he 
needed only to finish with "And, if it isn't so, it ought to 
be " to have a regular Water-Baby argument out of it. He 
managed to talk on in this vein until he could stop the car 
and help Shirley out, and together they all went up the now 
velvety green of the incline to the big door. 

" It is beautiful ! beautiful I " murmured Shirley in a daze 
of delight. She could not yet make it seem real that she was 
to come to this charmed spot to live in a few days. 

Graham unlocked the big doors, and sent them rolling back 
with a touch, showing what ball bearings and careful work- 
manship can do. The group stepped inside, and stood to 
look again. 

The setting sun was casting a red glow through the diamond 
panes and over the wide floor. The new partitions, guiltless 
of paint, for Graham had not dared to go further, were mel- 
lowed into ruby hangings. The stone fireplace rose at the 
opposite side of the room, and the new staircase was just at 
the side, all in the ruddy evening glow that carried rich 
dusky shadows into the corners, and hung a curtain of vague- 
ness over blemishes. 

Then all suddenly, before they had had time to take in 
, the changes, more than the fact of the partitions which they 
expected, Graham stepped to the side of the door, and touched 
a button, and behold a myriad of lights burst forth about the 
place, making it bright like noontime. 

" Oh ! Oh ! Oh ! " breathed Carol in awe and wonder, and 
"Oh!" again, as if there were nothing else to say. But 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 9* 

Shirley only looked and caught her breath. It seemed a 
palace too fine for their poor little means, and a sudden fear 
gripped hold upon her. 

"Oh Mr. Graham! You have done too much!" she 
choked. " You shouldn't have done it ! We can never afford 
to pay for all this ! " 

" Not at all 1 " said young Graham quickly. " This isn't 
anything. The electric people gave permission for this, and 
I thought it would be safer than lamps and candles, you know. 
It cost scarcely anything for the wiring. I had our regular 
man do it that attends to the wiring and lights at the office. 
It was a mere trifle, and will make things a lot more con 
venient for you. You see it's nothing to the company. They 
just gave permission for a wire to be run from the pole there. 
Of course they might not do it for every one, but I've some 
pretty good friends in the company; so it's all right." 

" But the fireplace ! " said Shirley, going over to look at 
it. "It's beautiful! It's like what you see in magazine 
pictures of beautiful houses." 

" Why, it was just the stones that were left from cutting 
the windows larger. I thought they might as well be utilized, 
you know. It wasn't much more work to pile them up that 
way while the men were here than if we had had them carted 
away." 

Here Carol interrupted. 

" Shirley ! There's a telephone ! A real telephone ! " 

Shirley's accusing eyes were upon her landlord. 

"It was put in for our convenience while the workmen 
were here/' he explained defensively. "It is a pay phone, 
you see, and is no expense except when in use. It can be 
taken out if you do not care to have it, of course; but It 



100 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

occurred to me since it was here your mother might feel more 
comfortable out here all day if she could call you when she 
needed to." 

Shirley's face was a picture of varying emotions as she 
listened, but relief and gratitude conquered as she turned 
to him. 

" I believe you have thought of everything/' she said at 
last. " I have worried about that all this week. I have won- 
dered if mother would be afraid out in the country with only 
the children, and the neighbors not quite near enough to call ; 
but this solves the difficulty. You are sure it hasn't cost you a 
lot to have this put in ? " 

" Why, don't you know the telephone company is glad to 
have their phones wherever they can get them ? " he evaded. 
" Now, don't worry about anything more. You'll find hard- 
ships enough living in a barn without fretting about the few 
conveniences we have been ablo to manage." 

" But this is real luxury ! " she said, sitting down on the 
steps and looking up where the lights blazed from the loft. 
" You have put lights up there, too, and a railing. I was so 
afraid Doris would fall down some time ! " 

" I'm glad to find you are human, after all, and have a few 
fears ! " declared the owner, laughing. <f I had begun to 
think you were Spartan through and through and weren't 
afraid of anything. Yes, I had the men put what lumber 
they had left into that railing. I thought it wasn't safe to 
have it all open like that, and I didn't want you to sue me 
for life or limb, you know. There's one thing I haven't 
managed yet, and that is piping water up from the spring. I 
haven't been able to get hold of the right man so far ; but he's 
coming out to-morrow, and I hope it can be done. There is r, 
spring on the hill back of us, and I believe it is high enough, 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 101 

to get the water to this floor. If it is it will make your work 
much easier and be only the matter of a few rods of pipe." 

" Oh, but, indeed, you mustn't do anything more ! " pleaded 
Shirley. " I shall feel so ashamed paying such a little rent." 

: *But, my dear young lady," said Graham in his most 
dignified business manner, " you don't at all realize how much 
lower rents are in the country, isolated like this, than they are 
in the city ; and you haven't as yet realized what a lot of incon- 
veniences you have to put up with. When you go back to the 
city in the winter, you will be glad to get away from here." 

" Never ! " said Shirley fervently, and shuddered. " Oh, 
never ! You don't know how dreadful it seems that we shall 
have to go back. But of course I suppose we shall. One 
couldn't live in a barn in the winter, even though it is a 
palace for the summer"; and she looked about wistfully. 
Then, her eyes lighting up, she said in a low tone, for the 
young man's benefit alone: 

" I think God must have made you do all this for us ! * 
She turned and walked swiftly over to one of the new casement 
windows, looking out at the red glow that the sun in sinking 
had left in the sky ; and there against the fringes of the willowa 
and maples shone out the bright weather-vane on the spire of 
the little white church in the valley. 

"I think God must have sent you to teach me and my 
tattle sister a few things," said a low voice just behind Shirley 
as she struggled with tired, happy tears that would blur her 
eyes. But, when she turned to smile at the owner of the 
voice, he was walking over by the door and talking to Carol. 
They tumbled joyously into the car very soon, and sped on 
their way to the city again. 

That night the Hollister children told their mother they 
had found a place in which to live. 



CHAPTER X 

THE crisis was precipitated by Shirley's finding her mothF 
crying when she came up softly to see her. 

"Now, little mother, dear! What can be the matter?" 
she cried aghast, sitting down on the bed and drawing her 
mother's head into her lap. 

But it was some time before Mrs. Hollister could recover 
her calmness, and Shirley began to be frightened. At last, 
when she had kissed and petted her, she called down to tho 
others to come up-stairs quickly. 

They came with all haste, George and Harley with dish- 
towels over their shoulders, Carol with her arithmetic and 
pencil, little Doris trudging up breathless, one step at a time, 
and all crying excitedly, "What's the matter?" 

"Why, here's our blessed little mother lying here all by 
herself, crying because she doesn't know where in the world 
we can find a house ! " cried Shirley ; " and I think it's time we 
told our beautiful secret, don't you ? " 

" Yes," chorused the children, although Harley and Doris 
had no idea until then that there was any beautiful secret. 
Beautiful secrets hadn't been coming their way. 
| " Well, I think we better tell it," said Shirley, looking at 
George and Carol questioningly. " Don't you ? We don't want 
mother worrying." So they all clustered around her on the 
bed and the floor, and sat expectantly while Shirley told. 

"You see, mother, it's this way. We've been looking 
around a good deal lately, George and I, and we haven't 
found a thing in the city that would do; so one day I took 
102 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 103 

a trolley ride out of the city, and I've found something I 
think will do nicely for the summer, anyway, and that will 
give us time to look around and decide. Mother dear, would 
you mind camping so very much if we made you a nice, 
comfortable place?" 

" Camping ! " said Mrs. Hollister in dismay. " Doar child 1 
In a tent?" 

" No, mother, not in a tent. There's a a sort of a 
house that is, there's a building, where we could sleep, and 
put our furniture, and all; but there's a lovely out-of-doors. 
Wouldn't you like that, for Doris and you ? " 

"Oh, yes," sighed the poor woman; "I'd like it; but, 
child, you haven't an idea what you are talking about. Any 
place in the country costs terribly, even a shanty " 

" That's it, mother, call it a shanty ! " put in Carol. 
" Mother, would you object to living in a shanty all summer 
if it was good and clean, and you had plenty of out-of-doors 
around it ? " 

" No, of course not, Carol, if it was perfectly respectable. 
I shouldn't want to take my children among a lot of low- 
down people " 

" Of course not, mother ! " put in Shirley. "And there's 
nothing of that sort. It's all perfectly respectable, and the 
few neighbors are nice, respectable people. Now, mother, if 
you're willing to trust us, we'd like it if you'll just let us 
leave it at that and not tell you anything more about it till we 
take you there. George and <~!arol and I have all seen the 
place, and we think it will be just the thing. There's plenty of 
room, and sky, and a big tree, and birds; and it only costs 
ten dollars a month. Now, mother, will you trust us for the 
rest and not ask any questions ? " 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 

The mother looked in bewilderment from one to another, 
and, seeing their eager faces, she broke into a weary smile, 

"Well, I suppose I'll have to," she said with a sigh of 
doubt ; " but I can't understand how any place you could get 
would be only that price, and I'm afraid you haven't thought 
of a lot of things." 

"Yes, mother, we've thought of everything and then 
some," said Shirley, stooping down to kiss the thir cheek; 
u but we are sure you are going to like this when you see it 
It isn't a palace, of course. You don't expect plate-glass 
windows, you know." 

" Well, hardly," said Mrs. Hollister dryly, struggling with 
herself to be cheerful. She could see that her children were 
making a brave effort to make a jolly occasion out of their 
necessity, and she was never one to hang back ; so, as she could 
do nothing else, she assented. 

"You are sure," she began, looking at Shirley with 
troubled eyes. " There are so many things to think of, and 
you are so young." 

"Trust me, mudder dearie," said Shirley joyously, re- 
membering the fireplace and the electric lights. " It really 
isn't so bad ; and there's a beautiful hill for Doris to run down, 
and a place to hang a hammock for you right under a big 
tree where a bird has built its nest." 

" Oh-h ! " echoed the wondering Doris. "And coula I see 
de birdie?" 

" Yes, darling, you can waUih him every day, and see him 
fly through the blue sky." 

"If s all right, mother," said George in a businesslike 
tone. "You'll think it's great after you get used to it 
Carol and I are crazy over it" 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 105 

**But will it be where you can get to your work, both of 
yon? I shouldn't like you to take long, lonely walks, you 
know/' said the troubled mother. 

"Right on the trolley line, mother dear; and the differ- 
ence in rent will more than pay our fare." 

"Besides, I'm thinking of buying a bicycle from one of 
the fellows. He says he'll sell it for five dollars, and I can 
pay fifty cents a month. Then I could go in on my bike in 
good weather, and save that much." This from George. 

" Oh, gee ! " said Harley breathlessly. " Then I could ride 
it sometimes, too." 

" Sure ! " said George generously. 

"Now," said Shirley with her commanding manner that 
the children called "brigadier-general," "now, mother dear, 
you're going to put all your worries out of your head right 
this minute, and go to sleep. Your business is ta get strong 
enough to be moved out there. When you get there, you'll 
get well so quick you won't know yourself ; but you've got to 
rest from now on every minute, or you won't be able to go 
when the time comes ; and then what will happen ? Will you 
promise ? " 

Amid the laughing and pleading of her children the mother 
promised, half smilingly, half tearfully, and succumbed to 
being prepared for the night. Then they all tiptoed away to 
the dining-room for a council of war. 

It was still two weeks before they had to vacate the little 
brick house, plenty of time to get comfortably settled before 
they took their mother out there. 

It was decided that George and Shirley should go out the 
next evening directly from their work, not waiting to return 
for supper, but eating a lunch down-town. Now that the place 



106 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

was lighted and they had been told to use the light as freely 
as they chose, with no charge, the question of getting settled 
was no longer a problem. They could do it evenings after 
their work was over. The first thing would be to clean house, 
and for that they needed a lot of things, pails, pans, brooms, 
mops and the like. It would be good to take a load of things 
out the next day if possible. 

So George went out to interview the man with the moving" 
wagon, while Shirley and Carol made out a list of things 
that ought to go in that first load. George came back with the 
report that the man could come at half past four in the 
afternoon ; and, if they could iiave the things that were to go 
all ready, he would have his son help to load them, and they 
could get out to Glenside by six o'clock or seven at the latest. 
Harley might go along if he liked, and help to unload at the 
other end. 

Harley was greatly excited both at the responsibility 
placed upon him and at the prospect of seeing the new home. 
It almost made up for the thought of leaving " the fellows " 
and going to live in a strange place. 

The young people were late getting to bed that night, for 
they had to get things together so that Carol would not have 
her hands too full the next day when she got home from 
school. Then they had to hunt up soap, scrubbing-pails, rags, 
brushes and brooms ; and, when they went to bed at last, they 
were much too excited to sleep. 

Of course there were many hindrances to their plans, and 
a lot of delay waiting for the cartman, who did not always 
keep his word; but the days passed, and every one saw some 
little progress toward making a home out of the big barn. 
Shirley would not let them stay later in the evenings than 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 1C* 

ten o'clock, for they must be ready to go to work the next 1 
morning ; so of course the work of cleaning the barn progressed 
but slowly. After the first night they got a neighbor to sit 
with their mother and Doris, letting Carol and Harley come 
out on the car to help; and so with four willing workers the 
barn gradually took on a nice smell of soap and water. 

The old furniture arrived little by little, and was put in 
place eagerly, until by the end of the first week the big middle 
room and the dining-room and kitchen began really to look 
like living. 

It was Saturday evening of that first week, and Shirley 
was sitting on the old couoh at the side of the fireplace, resting, 
watching George, who was reeling out a stormy version of 
chopsticks on the piano, and looking about on her growing 
home hopefully. Suddenly there came a gentle tapping at 
the big barn door, and George as the man of the house went 
to the door with his gruffest air on, but melted at once whea 
he saw the landlord and his sister standing out in front IB 
the moonlight. 

"Are you ready for callers ? " asked Graham, taking off hia 
hat in greeting. " Elizabeth and I took a spin out this way, 
and we sighted the light, and thought we'd stop and see if wf 
could help any. My, how homelike you've made it look ! Say, 
this is great ! " 

Sidney Graham stood in the centre of the big room, looking 
.bout him with pleasure. 

The young people had put things in apple-pie order as 
far as they had gone. A fire was laid in the big stone fire- 
place, all ready for touching off, and gave a homelike, cleared- 
up look to the whole place as if it were getting ready for somn 
event. On each side of the chimney stood a simple set of book* 



108 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

shelves filled with well-worn volumes that had a look of being 
beloved and in daily intimate association with the family. On 
the top of the shelves Carol had placed some bits of bric-a-brac, 
and in the centre of each a tall vase. Beside them were a few 
photographs in simple frames, a strong-faced man with eyes 
that reminded one of Shirley and a brow like George's; a 
delicate-featured, refined woman with sweet, sensitive mouth 
and eyes like Carol's; a lovely little child with a cloud of 
fair curls. 

The old couch was at one side of the fireplace, at a con- 
venient angle to watch the firelight, and yet not hiding the 
bookshelves. On the other side, with its back toward the first 
landing of the rude staircase, stood an old upright piano 
with a pile of shabby music on the top and a book of songs 
open on the rack. On the floor in the space between was 
spread a worn and faded ingrain rug, its original colors and 
pattern long since blended into neutral grays and browns, 
which strangely harmonized with the rustic surroundings. A 
few comfortable but shabby chairs were scattered about in a 
homelike way, and a few pictures in plain frames were hung 
on the clean new partitions. Under one stood a small oak 
desk and a few writing-materials. A little further on a plain 
library table held a few magazines and papers and a cherished 
book or two. There had been no attempt to cover the wide 
bare floor spaces, save by a small dingy rug or two or a strip 
of carpet carefully brushed and flung here and there in front 
of a chair. There was no pretension and therefore no incon- 
gruity. The only luxurious thing in the place was the bright 
electric light, and yet it all looked pleasant and inviting. 

" Say, now, this is great ! " reiterated the young owner ol 
the place, sinking into the nearest chair and looking about 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 109 

him with admiration. " Who would ever have imagined you 
could make a barn look like this? Why, you're a genius, 
Miss Hollister. You're a real artist." 

Shirley in an old gingham dress, with her sleeves rolled 
high and her hair fluffing wilfully in disorder about her hot 
cheeks, stood before him in dismay. She had been working 
hard, and was all too conscious of the brief time before they 
must be done ; and to have company just now and such com- 
pany put her to confusion ; but the honest admiration in the 
young man's voice did much to restore her equilibrium. She 
began to pull down her sleeves and sit down to receive her 
callers properly; but he at once insisted that she should not 
delay on his account, and, seeing her shyness, immediately 
plunged into some questions about the water-pipes, which 
brought about a more businesslike footing and relieved her 
embarrassment. He was soon on his way to the partitioned 
corner which was to be the kitchen, telling Shirley how it was 
going to be no trouble to run a pipe from the spring and have 
a faucet put in, and that it should be done on the morrow, 
Then he called to Elizabeth. 

" Kid, what did you do with those eats you brought along ? 
I think it would be a good time to hand them out. I'm 
hungry. Suppose you take George out to the car to help you 
bring them in, and let's have a picnic ! " 

Then, turning to Shirley, he explained: 

" Elizabeth and I are great ones to have something along 
to eat. It makes one hungry to ride, you know." 

The children needed no second word, but all hurried out 
to the car, and came back with a great bag of most deliciouu 
oranges and several boxes of fancy cakes and crackers; and 
they all sat down to enjoy them, laughing and chattering^ 
opt at all like landlord and tenants. 



110 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

" Now what's to do next? " demanded the landlord as soon 
as the repast was finished. " I'm going to help. We're not 
here to hinder, and we must make up for the time we have 
stopped you. What were you and George doing, Miss Carol, 
when we arrived r " 

"Unpacking dishes," giggled Carol, looking askance at 
the frowning Shirley, who was shaking her head at Carol 
behind Graham's back. Shirley had no mind to have the 
elegant landlord see the dismal state of the Hollister crockery. 
But the young man was not to be so easily put off, and to 
Carol's secret delight insisted upon helping despite Shirley's 
most earnest protests that it was not necessary to do anything 
more that evening. He and Elizabeth repaired to the dining- 
room end of the barn, and helped unpack dishes, pana^ kettles, 
knives, and forks, and arrange them on the shelves that George 
had improvised out of a large old bookcase that used to be hia 
father's. After all, there was something in good breeding, 
thought Shirley, for from the way in which Mr. Graham 
handled the old cracked dishes, and set them up so nicely, you 
never would have known but they were Haviland china. He 
never seemed to see them at all when they were cracked. One 
might have thought he had been a member of the family for 
years, he made things seem so nice and comfortable and 
sociable. 

Merrily they worked, and accomplished wonders that night, 
for Shirley let them stay until nearly eleven o'clock " just for 
once " ; and then they all piled into the car, Shirley and Carol 
and Elizabeth in the back seat, George and the happy Harley 
with Graham in the front. If there had been seven more of 
them, they would have all happily squeezed in. The young 
Hollisters were having the time of their lives, and as for the 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 111 

Grahams it wasn't quite certain but that they were also. Cer- 
tainly society had never seen on Sidney Graham's face that 
happy, enthusiastic look of intense satisfaction that the moon 
looked down upon that night. And, after all, they got home 
almost as soon as if they had gone on the ten-o'clock trolley. 

After that on one pretext or another those Grahams were 
always dropping in on the Hollisters at their work and man- 
aging to "help," and presently even Shirley ceased to be 
annoyed or to apologize. 

The east end of the barn had been selected for bedrooms. 
A pair of cretonne curtains was stretched across the long, nar- 
row room from wall to partition, leaving the front room for 
their mother's bed and Doris's crib, and the back room for 
Shirley and Carol. The boys had taken possession of the loft 
with many shouts and elaborate preparations, and had spread 
out their treasures with deep delight, knowing that at last 
there was room enough for their proper display and they need 
feel no fear that they would be thrown out because their place 
was wanted for something more necessary. Little by little the 
Hollisters were getting settled. It was not so hard, after all, 
because there was that glorious big " attic " in which to put 
away things that were not needed below, and there was the 
whole basement for tubs and things, and a lovely faucet down 
there, too, so that a lot of work could be done below the living- 
floor. It seemed just ideal to the girls, who had been for 
several years accustomed to the cramcod quarters of a tiny city 
house. 

At last even the beds were made up, and everything had 
been moved but the bed and a few necessities in their mother's 
room, which were to come the next day while they were moving 
their mother. 



112 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

That moving of mother had been a great problem to Shirley 
until Graham anticipated her necessity, and said in a matter- 
of-fact way that he hoped Mrs. Hollister would let him take 
her to her new home in his car. Then Shirley's eyes filled 
with tears of gratitude. She knew her mother was not yet 
able to travel comfortably in a trolley-car, and the price of a 
taxicab was more than she felt they ought to afford; yet in her 
secret heart she had been intending to get one; but now there 
would be no necessity. 

Shirley's words of gratitude were few and simple, but there 
was something in her eyes as she lifted them to Graham's 
face that made a glow in his heart and fully repaid him for 
his trouble. 

The last thing they did when they left the barn that night 
before they were coming to stay was to set the table, and it 
really looked very cozy and inviting with a white cloth on it 
and the dishes set out to look their best. Shirley looked back 
at it with a sweeping glance that took in the great, com- 
fortable living-room, the open door into the dining-room on 
one hand and the vista of a white bed on the other side 
through the bedroom door. She smiled happily, and then 
switched off the electric light, and stepped out into the sweet 
spring night. Graham, who had stood watching her as one 
might watch the opening of some strange, unknown flower, 
closed and locked the door behind them, and followed her 
down the grassy slope to the car. 

" Do you know," he said earnestly, " it's been a great thing 
to me to watch you make a real home out of this bare barn? 
It's wonderful! It's like a miracle. I wouldn't have believed 
it could be done. And you have done it so wonderfully! I 
can just see what kind of a delightful home it is going to be." 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 

There was something in his tone that made Shirley forget 
he was rich and a stranger and her landlord. She lifted her 
face to the stars, and spoke her thoughts. 

" You can't possibly know how much like heaven it is going 
to be to us after coming from that other awful little house/ 4 
she said ; te and you are the one who has made it possible. If 
it hadn't been for you I know I never could have done it/' 

" Oh, nonsense, Miss Hollister ! You mustn't think of it, 
I haven't done anything at all, just the simplest things that 
were absolutely necessary." 

" Oh, I understand," said Shirley ; " and I can't ever re- 
pay you, but I think God will. That is the kind of thing the 
kingdom of heaven is made of." 

" Oh, really, now," said Graham, deeply embarrassed ; he 
was not much accustomed to being connected with the king- 
dom of heaven in any way. " Oh, really, you you over- 
estimate it. And as for pay, I don't ask any better than the 
fun my sister and I have had helping you get settled. It has 
been a great play for us. We never really moved, you see. 
We've always gone off and had some one do it for us. I've 
learned a lot since I've known you." 

That night as she prepared to lie down on the mattress and 
blanket that had been left behind for herself and Carol to 
camp out on, Shirley remembered her first worries about 
Mr. Graham, and wondered whether it could be possible that 
he thought she had been forward in any way, and what her 
mother would think when she heard the whole story of the 
new landlord; for up to this time the secret had been beau- 
tifully kept from mother, all the children joining to dap 
their hands over wayward mouths that started to utter tell- 
tale sentences, and the mystery grew, and became almost like 



114 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

Christmas-time for little Doris and her mother. It must, 
however, be stated that Mrs. Hollister, that last night, as she 
lay wakeful on her bed in the little bare room in the tiny 
house, had many misgivings, and wondered whether per- 
chance she would not be sighing to be back even here twenty- 
four hours later. She was holding her peace wonderfully, 
because there really was nothing she could do about it even 
if she was going out of the frying-pan into the fire; but the 
tumult and worry in her heart had been by no means bliss. 
So the midnight drew on, and the weary family slept for the 
last night in the cramped old house where they had lived since 
trouble and poverty had come upon them. 






CHAPTER XI 

SHIRLEY was awake early that morning, almost too excited 
to sleep but fitfully even through the night. Now that the 
thing was done and they were actually moved into a barn she 
began to have all sorts of fears and compunctions concerning 
it. She seemed to see her delicate mother shrink as from a 
blow when she first learned that they had come to this. Try 
us she would to bring back all the sensible philosophy that had 
eaused her to enter into this affair in the first place, she 
simply could not feel anything but trouble. She longed to 
rush into her mother's room, tell her all about it, and get the 
dreaded episode over. But anyhow it was inevitable now. 
They were moved. They had barely enough money to pay 
the cartage and get things started before next pay-day. There 
was nothing for it but to take her mother there, even if she 
did shrink from the idea. 

Of course mother always had been sensible, and all that; 
but somehow the burden of the great responsibility of decision 
rested so heavily upon her young shoulders that morning that 
it seemed as if she could not longer bear the strain. 

They still had a good fire in the kitchen range, and Shirley 
hastened to the kitchen, prepared a delicate piece of toast, a 
poached egg, a cup of tea, and took it to her mother's room, 
tiptoeing lightly lest she still slept. 

But the mother was awake and glad to see her. She had 
been awake since the first streak of dawn had crept into the 
little back window. She had the look of one who was girded 
for the worst. But, when she saw her daughter's face, the 
mother in her triumphed over the woman. 

116 



116 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

"Whafs the trouble, little girl? Has something hap- 
pened?" 

The tenderness in her voice was the last straw that broke 
Shirley's self-control. The tears suddenly sprang into her 
eyes, and her lip trembled. 

" Oh mother ! " she wailed, setting the tray down quickly 
on a box and fumbling for her handkerchief. " I'm so wor- 
ried ! I'm so afraid you won't like what we've done, and then 
what shall we do?" 

" I shall like it ! " said the mother with instant determina- 
tion. " Don't for a minute think of anything else. Having 
done something irrevocably, never look back and think you 
might have done something better. You did the best you 
could, or you thought you did, anyway ; and there didn't seem 
to be anything else at the time. So now just consider it was 
the very beet thing in the world, and don't go to fretting 
about it. There'll be something nice about it, I'm sure, and 
goodness knows we've had enough unpleasant things here; so 
we needn't expect beds of roses. We are just going to make 
it nice, little girl. Remember that ! We are going to like it. 
There's a tree there, you say ; so, when we find things we don't 
like, we'll just go out and look up at our tree, and say, c We've 
got you, anyway, and we're glad of it ! " 

" You blessed little mother ! " laughed Shirley, wiping her 
tears away. " I just believe you will like it, maybe, after all, 
though I've had a lot of compunctions all night. I wondered 
if maybe I oughtn't to have told you all about it ; only I knew 
you couldn't really judge at all until you had seen it yourself, 
and we wanted to surprise you." 

"Well, I'm determined to be surprised," said the brave 
little woman; "so don't you worry We're going to hav 4 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 117 

grand good time to-day. Now run along. It's almost time 
for your car, and you haven't had any breakfast yet." 

Shirley kissed her mother, and went smiling down to eat 
her breakfast and hurry away to the office. 

There was a big rush of work at the office, or Shirley would 
have asked for a half -holiday ; but she did not dare endanger 
her position by making a request at so busy a season. She was 
glad that the next day was Sunday and they would have a 
whole day to themselves in the new home before she would 
have to hurry away to the office again. It would serve to make 
it seem less lonely for her mother, having them all home that 
first day. She meant to work fast to-daj and get all the 
letters written before five if possible. Then she would have 
time to get home a few minutes before Graham arrived with 
his car, and see that her mother was all comfortably ready. 
It was a good deal to put upon Carol to look after everything. 
It wasn't as if they had neighbors to help out a little, for 
they were the very last tenants in the doomed block to leave. 
All the others had gone two or three weeks before. 

Thinking over again all the many details for the day, 
Shirley walked down to the office through the sunshine. It 
was growing warm weather, and her coat felt oppressive 
already. She was so thankful that mother would not have to 
sleep in those breathless rooms after the heat began. The 
doctor had said that her mother needed rest and air and 
plenty of sunshine more than anything else. She would at 
least have those at the barn, and what did other things mat- 
ter, after all ? Mother was game. Mother wouldn't let herself 
feel badly over such a silly thing. They certainly were going 
to be more comfortable than they had been for several years. 
Think of that wonderful electric light. And clear cold water 



118 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

from the spring! Oh, it was great! And a little thrill of 
ecstasy passed over her, the first she had let herself feel 
since she had taken the great responsibility of transplanting 
her family to a barn. 

After all, the day passed very quickly; and, when at half- 
past four the telephone-bell rang and Graham's voice an- 
nounced that he would be down at the street door waiting for 
her in half an hour, that she needn't hurry, he would wait 
till she was ready, her heart gave a little jump of joy. It 
was as if school was out and she was going on a real picnic 
like other girls. How nice of him ! How perfectly lovely of 
him! And yet there hadn't been anything but the nicest 
friendliness in his voice, such as any kindly disposed landlord 
might use if he chose, nothing that she need feel uncom- 
fortable about. At least, there was the relief that after to-night 
mother would know all about it; and, if she didn't approve, 
Shirley could decline any further kindness, of course. And 
now she was just going to take mother's advice and forget 
everything but the pleasant part. 

At home Carol and Harley bustled about in the empty 
house like two excited bumble-bees, washing up the few dishes, 
putting in an open box everything that had been left out for 
their last night's sleeping, getting lunch, and making mother 
take a nap. Doris, vibrating between her mother's room and 
down-stairs, kept singing over to herself : " We goin' to tun try ! 
We going* to tuntry! See birdies an' twees and walk on 
gween gwass ! " 

After lunch was over and the dishes were put carefully 
into the big box between comfortables and blankets Carol 
helped her mother to dress, and then made her lie down and 
take a good long nap, with Doris asleep by her side. After/ 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 119 

that Carol and Harley tiptoed down to the bare kitchen, and 
sat on a box side by side to converse. 

" Gee ! Ain't you tired, Carol ? " said the boy, pushing 
his hair back from his hot face. " Gee ! Don't it seem funny 
we aren't coming back here any more? It kind of gets my 
goat I sha'n't see the fellows so often, but it'll be great to 
ask 'em to see us sometimes. Say, do you suppose we really 
can keep chickens ? " 

" Sure ! " said Carol convincingly. " I asked Mr. Graham 
if we might, George said we ought to, he was such a good 
scout you'd want to be sure he'd like it, and he said, c Sure, it 
would be great.' He'd like to come out and see them some- 
times. He said he used to keep chickens himself when he 
was a kid, and he shouldn't wonder if they had a few too 
many at their place they could spare to start with. He told 
me he'd look it up and see soon's we got settled." 

" Gee ! He's a peach, isn't he ? Say, has he got a case on 
Shirl?" 

" I don't know," said the girl thoughtfully ; " maybe he 
has, but he doesn't know it yet, I guess. But anyhow you 
must promise me you will never breathe such a word. Why, 
Shirley would just bust right up if you did. I said & little 
something to her like that once; it wasn't much, only just 
that he was awfully nice and I guessed he liked her by the 
way he looked at her, and she just fairly froze. You know the 
way her eyes get when she is sore at us? And she said I 
must never, never even think anything like that, or she would 
give the place right up, and get a few rooms down on South 
Street, and stay in the city all summer ! She said Mr. Graham 
was a gentleman, and she was only a working girl, and it 
would be a disgrace for her to accept any favors from him 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 

except what she could pay for, and an insult for him to offei 
them, because she was only a working girl and he was a 
gentleman, you know." 

" H'm ! " growled Harley. " I guess our sister's as good 
as he is any day/' 

" Of course ! " snapped Carol ; " but then he might not 
think so/' 

" Well, if he don't, he can go to thunder ! " bristled Harley 
wrathf ully. " I'm not going to have him looking down on 
Shirley. She's as good as his baby-doll sister with her pink 
cheeks, and her little white hands, and her high heels and airs, 
any day ! She's a nut, she is." 

" Harley ! You stop ! " declared Carol, getting wrathful. 
" Elizabeth's a dear, and you're not going to talk about her 
that way. Just betause she is pretty and doesn't have to work." 

"Well, you said her brother looked down on our sister," 
declared Harley. 

"I did not! I only said he might! I only meant that 
was the way some gentlemen would. I only said people kind 
of expect gentlemen to do that." 

" Not if they're real gentlemen, they won't. And anyhow 
he won't. If I find him looking down on my sister Shirley, 
I'll punch his face for him. Yes, I will! I'm not afraid. 
George and I could beat the stuffing out of him, and we will if 
be does any looking-down stunts, and don't you forget it ! " 

" Well, I'm sure he doesn't," said Carol pacifically, trying 
to put a soothing sound into her voice as wise elder sisters 
learn to do. "You see if he did look down on her, Shirley 
would know it; right away she'd know it. Nobody would 
have to tell her! She'd see it in his voice and smile and 
everything. And, if he had, she wouldn't have gone out there 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 121 

to live in the place he owns, you know. So I guess you can 
trust Shirley. I think he's been just dandy, fixing up that 
fireplace and stairs and lights and water and everything." 

" Well, mebbe ! " said Harley grudgingly. " Say, this is 
slow. I'm going out to meet the fellows when they come 
from school, and see what the score of the game is. Gee ! I 
wish I could play to-day ! " 

" You'll be sure to come back in time?" asked Carol 
anxiously. 

" Sure ! You don't suppose I'd miss going out 121 that 
car, do you ? " said the brother contemptuously. " Not on 
your tintype ! " 

" Well, maybe there won't be room for you. Maybe Eliza- 
beth'll come along, and you'll have to go in the trolley with 
George." 

" No chance ! " declared the boy. " Mr. Graham said I 
should ride with him 'n the front seat, and he looks like a 
man that kept his word." 

" You see ! You know he's a gentleman ! " triumphed 
Carol. " Well, I think you'd better stay here with me. You'll 
forget and be late, and make a mess waiting for you." 

" No, I won't ! " said the restless boy. " I can't be bothered 
sticking round this dump all afternoon " ; and Harley seized 
his cap, and disappeared with a whoop around the corner. 
| After he was gone Carol found she was tired out herself, and, 
jcurling up on a mattress that was lying ready for the cart^nan, 
was soon asleep. It was so that Harley found her when he 
hurried back an hour later, a trifle anxious, it must be con- 
fessed, lest he had stayed too long. He stirred up the small 
household noisily, and in no time had Carol in a panic brew- 
Ing the cup of tea that was to give her mother strength to take 



122 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

the journey, dressing Doris, smoothing her own hair, putting 
the last things into bags and baskets and boxes, and directing 
the cartman, who arrived half an hour sooner than he prom- 
ised. Carol was quite a little woman, going from one thing 
to another and taking the place of everybody. 

Meantime Elizabeth Graham and her brother had been 
spending the afternoon in business of their own. It was 
Elizabeth who had suggested it, and her brother saw no reason 
why she should not carry out her plan and why he should 
not help her. 

She came down in the car after lunch, the chauffeur driving 
her, a great basket of cut and potted flowers from the home 
conservatory in the tonneau beside her, carefully wrapped in 
wax-paper. She stopped at the office for her brother, and 
together they went about to several shops giving orders and 
making purchases. When they had finished they drove out 
to Glenside to unpack their bundles and baskets. Graham left 
Elizabeth with the old servant to help her, and drove rapidly 
back to his office, where he telephoned to Shirley. 

Certainly Elizabeth had never had such fun in her life. 
She scarcely knew which delightful thing to do first, and she 
had only about two hours to complete her arrangements before 
the family would arrive. 

She decided to decorate first, and the great hamper of 
flowers was forthwith brought into the barn, and the chauffeur 
set to work twining ropes and sprays of smilax and asparagus 
fern oyer doorways and pictures, and training it like a vine 
about the stone chimney. Then come the flowers. Pots of 
tall starry lilies, great, heavy-headed, exquisite-breathed roses, 
pink, white, yellow, and crimson; daffodils and sweet peas, 
with quantities of sweet violets in the bottom of the basket. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 123 

Elizabeth with deft fingers selected the flowers skilfully, put- 
ting pots of lilies on the window-sills, massing a quantity of 
pink roses in a dull gray jar she found among the kitchen 
things, that looked to the initiated amazingly as though it 
might once have been part of a water-filter, but it suited the 
pink roses wonderfully. The tall vases on the bookcases each 
side of the fireplace held daffodils. Sweet peas were glowing 
in small vases and glasses and bowls, and violets in saucers 
filled the air with fragrance. White and yellow roses were on 
the dining-table, and three exquisite tall crimson rosebuds 
glowed in a slender glass vase Elizabeth had brought with her. 
This she placed in Mrs. Hollister's room on the little stand 
that she judged would be placed beside the bed when the bed 
arrived. The flowers certainly did give an atmosphere to the 
place in more senses than one; and the girl was delighted, 
and fluttered from one spot to another, changing the position 
of a vase or bowl, and then standing off to get the effect. 

" Now bring me the big bundle, Jenkins, please/' she said 
at length when she was satisfied with the effect. " Oh, and 
1he little long box. Be careful. It is broken at one end, and 
the screws may fall out." 

Jenkins was soon back with the things. 

" Now, you get the rods put up at the windows, Jenkins, 
while I get out the curtains/' and she untied the big bundle 
with eager fingers. 

Jenkins was adaptable, and the rods were simple affairs. 
He was soon at work, and Elizabeth ran the rods into the 
curtains. 

They were not elegant curtains. Graham had insisted that 
phe should get nothing elaborate, nothing that would be out 
of keeping with the simplicity. They were soft and straight 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 

and creamy, with a frost-like pattern rambling over them in 
threads of the same, illuminated here and there with a 
single rose and a leaf in color. There was something cheer- 
ful and spring-like to them, and yet they looked exceedingly 
plain and suitable, no ruffles or trimming of any kind, just 
hems. To Elizabeth's mind they had been very cheap. Shirley 
would have exclaimed over their beauty wistfully and turned 
from them with a gasp when she heard their price. They 
were one of those quiet fitting things that cost without flaunt- 
ing it. They transformed the room into a dream. 

"Oh, isn't it beautiful!" exclaimed Elizabeth, standing 
back to look as the first curtain went up. 

" Yes, Miss, it's very stunning, Miss," said the man, work- 
ing away with good will in his face. 

When the curtains were all up, Elizabeth pinned one of 
her cards to the curtain nearest the front door, inscribed, 
"With love from Elizabeth." 

Then in a panic she looked at her watch. 

" Oh Jenkins ! It's almost six o'clock," she cried in dis- 
may. "They might get here by half -past, perhaps. We 
must hurry! Bring the other things in quick now, please." 

So Jenkins brought them in, bundles and bags and boxes, 
an ice-cream freezer, and last of all the cooking-outfit belong- 
ing to their touring-car. 

" Now you get the hot things ready, Jenkins, while I fix 
tiie table/' directed the girl. 

Jenkins, well trained in such things, went to work, opening 
cans and starting his chafing-dish fire. Elizabeth with eager 
fingers opened her parcels. 

A great platter of delicious triangular chicken Sandwiches, 
a dish of fruit and nut salad surrounded by crisp lettuos 



THE ENCHAiSTTED BARN 125 

leaves, a plate of delicate rolls, cream puffs, chocolate eclairs, 
macaroons, a cocoanut pie, things she liked herself ; and then 
because she knew no feast without them there were olives, 
salted almonds, and bonbons as a matter of course. 

Delicious odors from the kitchen end of the room began 
to fill the air. Jenkins was heating a pail of rich soup 
chicken with rice and gumbo from one of the best caterers 
in the city. He was making rich cocoa to be eaten with 
whipped cream that Elizabeth was pouring into a glass 
pitcher; the pitcher came from the ten-cent store if she had 
only known it. Jenkins was cooking canned peas and heating 
lovely little brown potato croquettes. The ice-cream freezer 
was out in full sight, where they could never miss it. Every- 
thing was ready now. 

" Jenkins, you better light up that queer stove of theirs 
now if you're sure you know how, she said it was just like 
a lamp the way it worked, and put those things in the oven 
to keep warm. Then we'll pack up our things, and hide them 
out in the grass where they can't see, and get them in the 
car when they get out. Hurry, for they'll be here very soon 
now, I think." 

Elizabeth stuck a card in the middle of the rose-bow?, that 
said in pretty letters, " Welcome Home," stood back a minute 
to see how everything looked, and then fluttered to the door 
to WR+fh for the car. 



CHAPTER XII 

WHEK SMrley came down to the street at five o'clock. 
Graham was waiting for her as he promised, and swung the 
car door open for her with as much eagerness as if he were 
taking the girl of his choice on a picnic instead of just doing 
a poor little stenographer a kindness. 

" I telephoned to the store and sent a message to George. 
We're going to pick him up on our way," he said as the car 
wended its way skilfully through the traffic. 

She was sitting beside him, and he looked down at her as 
if they were partners in a pleasant scheme. A strange sense 
of companionship with him thrilled through her, and waa 
properly rebuked and fled at once, without really rippling 
the surface of her joy much. She had determined to have 
the pleasure out of this one evening ride at least, and would 
not let her thoughts play truant to suggest what wider, 
sweeter realms might be for other girls. She was having this 
good time. It was for her and no one else, and she would 
just enjoy it as much as she could, and keep it the sweet, sane, 
innocent pleasure that it really was. If she was not a fool, 
everything would be all right. 

George was waiting in a quiver of pride and eagerness for 
them as they swept up to the employees' entrance, and a line 
of admiring fellow-laborers stood gaping on the sidewalk to 
watch his departure. 

"Oh, gee! Isn't this great?" shouted George, climbing 
into the back seat hilariously. "Got a whole < *mnibus of a 
oar this time, haven't you?" 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 127 

"Yes, I thought we'd have plenty of room for your 
mother, so she could lie down if she liked." 

" That was very kind of you," murmured Shirley. " You 
think of everything, don't you? I'm sure I don't see how 
we ever could have managed without your help. I should 
have been frightened a dozen times and been ready to give up." 

" Not you ! " said Graham fervently. " You're the kind 
that never gives up. You've taught me several valuable 
lessons." 

As they turned the corner into the old street where the 
little brick house stood, Shirley suddenly began to have a 
vivid realization that she had told her mother nothing what- 
ever about Mr. Graham. What would she think, and how 
could she explain his presence? She had expected to get 
there before Graham arrived and have time enough to make 
her mother understand, but now she began to realize that her 
real reason for leaving the matter yet unexplained was that 
she did not know just what to say without telling the whole 
story from beginning to end. 

" I'll hurry in and see if mother is all ready," she said, as 
the car stopped in front of the house, and the children rushed 
out eagerly, Doris just behind the others, to see the " booful 
tar." 

" Mother," said Shirley, slipping softly into the house and 
going over to the bed where she lay with hat and coat on, fully 
ready. " Mother, I sha'n't have time to explain all about it, 
but it's all right; so don't think anything. Mr. Graham, the 
man who owns the place where we are going, has been kind 
enough to offer to take you in his car. He thinks it will be 
easier for you than the trolley, and he is out at tn-e door now 
waiting. It's perfectly all right He has been very kind 
about it -" 



128 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

" Oh daughter, I couldn't think of troubling any one liie 
that ! " said the mother, shrinking from the thought of a 
stranger ; but, looking up, she saw him standing, hat in hand, 
just in the doorway. The children had led him to the door 
when he offered to help their mother out to the car. 

" Mother, this is Mr. Graham/' said Shirley. 

Mrs. Hollister, a little pink spot on each cheek, tried to 
rise, but the young man came forward instantly and stooped 
over her. 

" Don't try to get up, Mrs. Hollister. Your daughter tells 
me you haven't been walking about for several weeks. You 
must reserve all your strength for the journey. Just trust me. 
I'm perfectly strong, and I can lift you and put you into the 
car almost without your knowing it. I often carry my own 
mother up-stairs just for fun, and she's quite a lot larger and 
heavier than you. Just let me put my hand under your back 
so, and now this hand here. Now if you'll put your arms 
around my neck yes, that way no, don't be a bit afraid. 
I'm perfectly strong, and I won't drop you." 

Little Mrs. Hollister cast a frightened look at her daughter 
and another at the fine, strong face bent above her, felt herself 
lifted like thistle-down before she had had time to protest, 
and found herself obediently putting her weak arms around 
his neck and resting her frightened head against a strong 
shoulder. A second more, and she was lying on the soft 
cushions of the car, and the young man was piling pillows 
about her and tucking her up with soft, furry robes. 

<; Are you perfectly comfortable ? " he asked anxiously. " I 
didn't strain your back or tire you, did I ? " 

" Oh, no, indeed ! " said the bewildered woman. " You 
are very kind, and I hardly knew what you were doing till I 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 139 

was here. I never dreamed of anything like this. Shirley 
didn't tell me about it" 

" No/' said the young man, smiling, " she said she wanted 
to surprise you; and I believe she thought you might worry 
a little if you heard the details of the journey. Now, kitten, 
are you ready to get in ? " He turned a smiling face to Doris, 
who stood solemnly waiting her turn, with an expression of 
one who at last sees the gates of the kingdom of heaveo 
opening before her happy eyes. 

" Soor ! " said Doris in a tone as like Harley's as possible. 
She lifted one little shabby shoe, and tried to reach the step, 
but failed, and then surrendered her trusting hands to the 
young man ; and he lifted her in beside her mother. 

"Sit there, kitten, till your sister coiaes out," he said, 
looking at her flower face admiringly. 

Doris giggled. 

" I ain't a kitty," she declared; " I'se a 'ittle gurrul! " 

" Well, little girl, do you like to go riding? " 

" Soor! I do 'ike to go widin' ! " said Doris. " Oh ! There 
goes muwer's bed ! " as the drayman came out carrying the 
headboard. 

Shirley meanwhile was working rapidly, putting the last 
things from her mother's bed into the box, tossing things into 
the empty clothes-basket that had been left for this purpose, 
and directing the man who was taking down the bed and car- 
rying out the boxes and baskets. At last all the things were 
out of the house, and she was free to go. She turned for one 
swift moment, and caught a sob in her throat. There had 
not been time for it before. It had come when she saw the 
young man stoop and lift her mother so tenderly and bear 
her out to the car. 



130 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

But the children were calling her loudly to come. She 
gave one happy dab at her eyes with her handkerchief to make 
sure no tears had escaped, and went out of the little brick 
house forever. 

A little middle seat had been turned down for Carol, and 
Doris was in her lap. Graham turned the other middle seat 
down for Shirley; the boys piled into the front seat with him; 
and they were off. Mrs. Hollister in her wonder over it all 
completely forgot to look back into what she had been wont to 
call in the stifling days of summer her "frying-pan," or to 
wonder whether she were about to jump into the fire. She 
just lay back on her soft cushions, softer than any she had 
ever rested upon before, and felt herself glide along away from 
the hated little dark house forever! It was a wonderful ex- 
perience. It almost seemed as if a chariot of fire had swooped 
down and gathered all her little flock with her, and was 
carrying them tc some kind of gracious heaven where comfort 
would be found at last. A bit of hope sprang up within her, 
utterly unpremeditated and unreasonable, and persisted so 
that she could not help feeling happy. As yet it had not 
come to her to wonder who this handsome young man wae 
that presumed to lift her and carry her like a baby, and move 
her on beds of down to utterly unknown regions. She was 
too much taken. up with the wonder of it all. If Doris hadn't 
been prattling, asking questions of her, and the light breeze 
hadn't flapped a lock of hair into her eyes and tickled her 
nose, she might have thought she was dreaming, so utterly 
unreal did it all seem to her. 

And now they passed out from the narrow streets, through 
crowded thoroughfares for a brief space, then out beyond, 
ar.d free, into the wider reaches. Fair houses and glimpsed 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 131 

of green were appearing. The car was gliding smoothly, for 
the sake of the invalid not going at high speed; and she 
could see on every side. The trees were in full leaf; the sky 
was large and blue; the air was filled with freshness. She 
drew a long breath ; and closed her eyes to pray, " Oh, my 
Father I " and then opened them again to see whether it was 
all true. Shirley, sensitive for her to the slightest breath, 
turned and drew the robes closer about her mother, and asked 
whether she were perfectly warm and whether she wanted 
another pillow under her head. 

Graham did not intrude himself upon the family behind 
him. He was absorbed in the two boys, who were entirely 
willing to be monopolized. He told them all about the car, 
and discoursed on the mysteries of the different makes with a 
freedom that gave George the impression that he was himself 
almost a man to be honored by such talk. 

It was nearly seven o'clock when they reached Glenside 
and the big stone barn came in sight, for they had travelled 
slowly to make it easier for the invalid. 

Elizabeth had sighted the car far down the road below the 
curve; and, switching on every electric light in the place, she 
fled down the ladder to the basement, dragging the willing 
Jenkins after her. Here they waited with bated breath until 
the family had gone inside, when they made their stealthy 
way out the east end, across the little brook under the fence, 
and down the road, to be picked up by the car according to 
previous arrangement. 

As the car came in sight of the barn a deep silence sud- 
denly fell upon the little company. Even Doris felt it, and 
ceased her prattle to look from one to another. "Whatzie 
mattah ? " she asked Shirley shyly, putting out her hand to 



132 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

i?at Shirley's face in a way she had when sne was uneasy 01 
troubled. " W hatzie mattah, Surly?" 

But Shirley only squeezed her hand reassuringly, and 
smiled. 

As they drew near, the young people noticed that the bars 
of the fence in front of the barn had been taken down and 
the ditch filled in smoothly. Then they saw that the car was 
turning in and going straight up the grassy incline to the door. 

Mrs. Hollister, lying comfortably among her cushions, was 
looking at the evening sky, hearing a bird that reminded her 
of long ago, and scarcely noticed they had turned until the 
car stopped. Then in silent joy the children swarmed out of 
the car, and with one consent stood back and watched mother, 
as the strong young man came to the open door and gathered 
her in his arms once more. 

" Now we're almost home, Mrs. Hollister," he said pleas- 
antly. " Just put your arms around my neck once more, and 
we'll soon have you beside your own fire." He lifted her 
and 6ore her in to the wide couch before the crackling fire 
that Elizabeth had started just before she went to look out 
the door the last time. 

Then into the blazing light of the transformed barn they 
all stepped, and every one stood back and stared, blinking. 
Wliat was this? What wondrous perfume met their senses? 
What luxury! What flowers! What hangings! 

They stood and stared, and could not understand; and 
between them they forgot to wonder what their mother was 
thinking, or to do a thing but stupidly stare and say, " Why ! * 
and " Oh ! and "Ah ! " half under their breath. 

"Just phone me if you need anything, Miss Hollister. 
please. I shall be glad to serve you," said Graham, steppii 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 133 

quickly over to the door. " Mrs. Hollister, I hope you'll be 
none the worse for your ride " ; and he slipped out the door, 
and was gone. 

The sound of the car softly purring its way backward down 
the slope brought Shirley out of her daze ; but, when she turned 
and understood that he was gone, the car was just backing 
into the road, turning with a quick whirl, and was away before 
she could make him hear. 

" Oh ! He is gone ! " she cried out, turning in dismay to 
the children. " He is gone, and we never thanked him ! " 

George was out down the road like a shot; and the rest, 
forgetful for the moment of the invalid who had been the 
great anxiety all day, crowded at the door to watch him. They 
could hear the throbbing of the machine; they heard it stop 
down the road and start again almost immediately, growing 
fainter with every whir as it went farther from them. In a 
moment more George came running back. 

" He's gone. He meant to, I guess, so we could have it 
all to ourselves right at first. Elizabeth and the man were 
down the road waiting for him. They've been dolling the 
plase up to surprise us." 

" Oh ! " said Shirley, turning to look around, her cheeks 
growing rosy. "Oh! Isn't it beautiful?" Then, turning 
swiftly to the couch and kneeling, she said, " Oh mother!" 

" What does it all mean, daughter? " asked the bewildered 
mother, looking about on the great room that seemed a palace 
to her sad eyes. 

But they all began to clamor at once, and she could make 
nothing of it. 

" Oh Shirley, look at the curtains ! Aren't they perfectly 
dear ? " cried Carol ecstatically. 



134 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

" Perf 'ly deah ! " echoed Doris, dancing up and down 
gleefully. 

"And here's a card, < With love from Elizabeth ' ! Isn't it 
fiweet of her? Isn't she a perfect darling?" 

" Who is Elizabeth ? " asked Mrs. Hollister, rising to her 
elbow and looking around. 

"Gee! Look at the flowers!'* broke in George. "Itffl 
like our store at Easter ! I say ! Those lilies are pretty keen, 
aren't they, Shirl?" 

"Wait'll you see the dining-room!" called Harley, who 
was investigating with the help of his nose. " Some supper- 
tahle! Come on quick; I'm starved. Hello! Hustle here 
quick. Here's another sign-board ! " 

They followed to the dining-room. Harley, still following 
his nose, pursued his investigations to the kitchen, discovered 
the source of the savory odors that were pervading the place, 
and raised another cry so appreciative that the entire family, 
with the exception of the invalid, followed him and found the 
supper steaming hot and crying to he eaten. 

After the excitement was somewhat quieted Shirley took 
command. 

"Now, children, you're getting mother all excited, and 
this won't do. And, besides, we must eat this supper right 
away before it spoils. Quiet down, and bring the hot things 
to the table while I get mother's things off. Then we will tell 
her all about it. There's plenty of time, you know. We're 
going to stay right here all summer." 

"Aw, gee! Can't we bring mother out to the table ?" 
pleaded George. "Harley and I could lift that couch just 
as easy." 

"Why, I don't know," said Shirley, hesitating. "You 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 135 

know she is?*'* strong, and she will worry about your lifting 



"Oh Shirley, let her come," pleaded Carol. "We could 
all take hold and wheel the couch out here; you know the 
floor is real smooth since those new boards were put in, and 
there are good castors on the couch." 

" Mother ! Mother ! You're coming out to supper ! " thej 
chorused, rushing back to the living-room; and before the 
invalid realized what was happening her couch was being 
wheeled carefully, gleefully into the brilliantly lighted din- 
ing-room, with Doris like a fairy sprite dancing attendance, 
and shouting joyously : 

" Mudder's tumin' to suppy ! Mudder's tumin' to suppy 
adin!" 

The mother gazed in amazement at the royally spread 
table, so smothered in flowers that she failed to recognize the 
cracked old blue dishes. 

" Children, I insist/' she raised her voice above the happy 
din. " I insist on knowing immediately what all this means. 
Where are we, and what is this ? A hotel ? And who was the 
person who brought us here ? I cannot eat anything nor stay 
here another minute until I know. People can't rent houses 
like this for ten dollars a month anywhere, and I didn't 
suppose we had come to charity, even if I am laid up for a 
few days." 

Shirley could see the hurt in her mother's eyes and the 
quick alarm in her voice, and came around to her couch, 
smiling. 

" Now, mother dear, we'll tell you the whole thing. It 
isn't a hotel we're in, and it isn't a house at all. It's only 
an old barn!" 



<36 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

"A barn ! " Mrs. Hollister sat up on her couch alertly, 
and looked at the big bowl of roses in the middle of the table, 
at the soft, flowing curtains at the window and the great pot 
of Easter lilies on the little stand in front, and exclaimed, 
" Impossible ! " 

"But it is, really, mother, just a grand old stone barn! 
Look at the walls. See. those two over there are just rough 
stones, and this one back of you is a partition made of com- 
mon boards. That's only an old brown denim curtain over 
there to hide the kitchen, and we've got the old red chenille 
curtains up to partition off the bedrooms. The boys are going 
to sleep up in the hay-loft, and it's going to be just great \ ' J 

Mrs. Hollister looked wildly at the stone walls, back at 
the new partition, recognized one by one the ancient chairs, 
the old bookcase now converted into a china-closet, the brown 
denim curtain that had once been a cover for the dining-room 
floor in the little brick house. Now it was washed and 
mended, and was doing its faded part to look like a wall and 
fit into the scheme of things. She darted questioning glances 
at the wealth of flowers, and the abundantly set table, then 
settled back on her pillow but half satisfied. 

" They don't have curtains in a barn ! " she remarked 
dryly. 

" Those are a present from Elizabeth, the little sister of 
the landlord. She was out here with him when he came to 
see about things, and she got acquainted with Carol. She 
has put up those curtains, and brought the flowers, and fixed 
the table, for a surprise. See, mother ! " and Shirley brought 
the card on which Elizabeth had printed her crude welcome. 

Mrs. Hollister took thf card as if it were some sort of a 
fife-preserver, and smiled with relief. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN IS* 

"But this is a great deal to do for strangers," she said 
tremblingly, and tears began to glitter in her eyes. " They 
must be wealthy people." 

" Yes, mother, I think they are," said Shirley, " and they 
have been most kind." 

f "But, daughter, wealthy people do not usually take the 
trouble to do things like that for nothing. And ten dollars 
A month for a barn could be nothing to them." 

" I know, mother, but he seems very well satisfied with tha 
price," said Shirley with a troubled brow. " I " 

" Something's burning ! " yelled Harley at the top of his 
lungs from the kitchen, and immediately they all rushed out 
to rescue the supper, which took that moment to assert itself. 

" Now, mother," said Shirley, coming in with a big tureen 
of soupi " we've got to eat this supper or it will spoil. You're 
not to ask another question till we are through." 

They all settled expectantly down at the table, Dorii 
climbing joyously into her high chair, calling: 

" Suppy ! Suppy ! Oh goody ! " 

Such a clatter and a clamor, such shoutings over the sand- 
wiches and such jumpings up and down to carry something 
to mother ! Such lingering over the delicious ice-cream and 
fresh strawberries that were found in the freezer! Think 
of it ! Real strawberries for them that time of year I 

Then, when they had eaten all they could, and began tc 
realize that it was time to get mother to bed, they pushed the 
chairs back, and all fell to clearing off the table and putting 
things away. It was Carol who discovered the big roasted 
fowl and the bowl of salad set away in the tiny ice-box ready 
for to-morrow. How had Elizabeth, who never kept house in 
her life, known just what would be nice for a family 



138 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

were all tired out with moving, and needed to lie back and 
rest before starting on with living? 

The dishes were almost washed when the cart arrived with 
the last load of things, and the drayman helped George to 
put up mother's bed. 

They wheeled the couch into the living-room after the big 
doors were closed and safely fastened for the night. Before 
the glowing fire Shirley helped mother to undress, then rolled 
her couch into the bedroom and got her to bed. 

" Do you mind very much that it is only a barn, mother 
dear ? " questioned Shirley, bending anxiously over her mother 
after she was settled. 

" I can't make it seem like a barn, dear ; it seems a palace ! " 
said the mother with a tremble in her voice. " I'm glad it's 
a barn, because we could never afford a house with space like 
this, and air ! " She threw out her hands as if to express her 
delight in the wide rooms, and drew in a breath of the delicious 
country air, so different from air of the dusty little brick 
house in the city. 

" Daughter ! " she drew Shirley down where she could 
whisper to her. " You're sure he is not looking on us as 
objects of charity, and you're sure he understands that you are 
a self-respecting girl earning her honorable living and paying 
her way ? You know this is a wicked, deceitful world we 
live in, and there are all sorts of people in it/' 

"Mother dear! I'm sure. Sure as anybody could be. 
He has been a perfect gentleman. You didn't think he looked 
like one of those those people that go around misunder- 
standing girls, did you mother?" 

The mother remembered the gentle, manly way in which 
the young man had lifted her and carried her to and from 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 139 

the car, and her heart warmed to him. Yet her fears lingered 
as she watched her sweet-eyed girl. 

"No-o-o," she answered slowly; "but then, you can't 
always judge. He certainly was a gentleman, and he was 
very nice-looking." Then she looked sharply at Shirley. 

" You won't go to getting any notions in your head, deal 
'cnild?" Her eyes were wistful and sad as she searched the 
sweet, weary face of the girl. "You know rich young men 
follow whims sometimes for a few days. They don't mean 
anything. I wouldn't want your heart broken. I wish he 
was an old man with white hair." 

" Oh mother dear ! " laughed Shirley with heart-free ring 
to her voice, "did you think you had a young fool for a 
daughter? He was only being nice because he is a perfect 
gentleman; but I know he is not in the same universe as 
I am, so far as anything more than pleasant kindliness is 
concerned. We shall probably never see him again now that 
we are settled. But don't you think I ought to go and 
telephone thanks to his little sister? They will be home by 
this time, and it seems as if we ought to make some acknowl- 
edgment of her great kindness." 

" By all means, dear ; but how can you ? Is there a pay- 
station near here? I thought you said this was out in the 
country." 

"Why, we have a telephone of our own, muddy dear!| 
Just think of the luxury of it! Us with a telephone! Mr. 
Graham had it put into the barn when he was making some 
repairs, so he could communicate with his workmen ; and he 
said if we would like it we might keep it. It is one of those 
' pay-as-you-go ' phones, with a place to drop nickels and 
dimes in; so we are perfectly independent. Mr. Graham 



t40 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

thought it would be a comfort to }'ou when George or I had 
to stay late in town." 

" How thoughtful of him ! He must be a wonderful rich 
man! By all means telephone at once, and tell the little 
girl to say to her brother from me that I shall esteem it a 
privilege to thank him personally for all that he has done for 
my children, sometime when he is out this way. Think. A 1 
real rose by my bed ! " She reached out a frail hand, and 
touched the exquisite petals lovingly. " It is wonderful ! " 

So Shirley went into the living-room to telephone, while 
all the children stood about to watch and comment and tell 
her what to say. Doris sat on a little cushion at her feet in 
awe, and listened, asking Carol with large eyes: a ls Sirley 
tautin to Dod ? Vy doesn't see sut her yeyes ? " for Shirley's 
conversation over the telephone sounded to the little sister 
much like a prayer of thanksgiving; only she was not accus- 
tomed to hearing that joyous laughter in the voice when 
people prayed. 

Then Doris was put to bed in her own little crib, and the 
light in mother's room was switched off amid Doris's flood 
of questions. 

"Vat makes it light? Vy did it do avay? Will it turn 
adin?" wifi 

At last she was asleep, and the other children tiptoed 
excitedly about preparing for bed, going up and downstairs 
softly, whispering back and forth for this or that they could 
not find, till quiet settled down upon the tired, happy house- 
hold, and the bullfrogs in the distant creek droned out the 
nightly chorus. 



CHAPTER XIII 

IT was beautiful to wake the next morning with the birds 
singing a matin in the trees, and a wonderful Sabbath quiet 
over everything. Tired out as she was and worn with excite- 
ment and care, Shirley was the first to waken, and she lay 
there quiet beside Carol for a little while with her eyes 
closed, listening, and saying a prayer of thanksgiving for the 
peace of the place, and the wonder that it had come into her 
life. Then suddenly a strange luminousness about her simply 
forced her to open her eyes. 

The eastern window was across the room from her bed, and 
the sky was rosy, with the dawn, and flooding the room. It 
was the first time in years she had watched the sun rise. She 
had almost forgotten, in the little dark city house, that there 
was a sun to rise and make things glorious. The sun had 
seemed an enemy to burn and wilt and stifle. 

But now here was a friend, a radiant new friend, to be 
waited for and enjoyed, to give glory to all their lives. She 
raised herself on one elbow and watched until the red ball 
had risen and burst into the brightness of day. Then she lay 
down softly again and listened to the birds. They seemed to 
be mad with joy over the new day. Presently the chorus 
grew less and less. The birds had gone about their morning 
tasks, and only a single bright song now and then from some 
soloist in the big tree overhead marked the sweet-scented 
silence of the morning. 

In the quiet Shirley lay and went over events since she 

had first seen this spot and taken the idea of living in the 

Ul 



142 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

barn. Her heart gave thanks anew that her mother had not 
disliked it as sne had feared. There was no sense that it was 
a stable, no odor of living creatures having occupied it before, 
only sweet dusty clover like a lingering of past things put 
away carefully. It was like a great camping expedition. And 
then all those flowers ! The scent of the lilies was on the air. 
How lovely of the young girl out of her luxury to think to 
pass on some of the sweet things of life ! And the gracious, 
chivalrous man, her brother! She must not let him think 
she would presume upon his kindness. She must not let even 
her thoughts cross the line and dwell on the ground of social 
equality. She knew where he belonged, and there he should 
stay for all her. She was heart-free and happy, and only too 
glad tc have such a kind landlord. 

She drifted off to sleep again, and it was late when she 
awoke the next time. A silvery bell from the little white 
church in the valley was ringing and echoing distantly. Sab- 
bath, real Sabbath, seemed brooding happily in the very air. 
Shirley got up and dressed hastily. She felt as if she had 
already lost too much of this first wonderful day in the 
country. 

A thrush was spilling his liquid notes in the tree overhead 
when she tiptoed softly into her mother's room. Doris opened 
her eyes and looked in wonder, then whispered softly: 

"Vat is dat, Sirley? Vat is dat pitty sound?" 

"A birdie in the tree, dearie ! " whispered Shirley. 

"A weel budie! I yantta see it ! Take Doris up, Sirley ! " 

So Shirley lifted the little maiden, wrapped a shawl about 
her, and carried her softly to the window, where she looked 
Up in wonder and joy. 

Thf bovs came tumbling down from their loft in a few 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 143 

minutes, and there was no more sleep to be had. Carol was 
up and out, and the voice of one or the other of them waa 
continually raised in a shout of triumph over some new 
delight. 

" I saw a fish in the brook ! " shouted Harley under his 
mother's window. " It was only a little fellow, but maybe if 11 
grow bigger some day, and then we can fish ! " 

" You silly ! " cried George. " It was a minnow. Min- 
nows don't grow to be big. They're only good for bait!" 

" Hush, George, there's a nest in the big tree. I've been 
watching and the mother bird is sitting on it. That was the 
father bird singing a while ago." This from Carol. 

George, Harley, and Carol declared their intention of 
going to church. That had likely been the first bell that 
rang, their mother told them, and they would have plenty 
of time to get there if they hurried. It was only half-past 
nine. Country churches rang a bell then, and another at ten, 
and the final bell at half -past ten, probably. Possibly they 
had Sunday-school at ten. Anyhow, they could go and find 
out. It wouldn't matter if they were a little late the first 
time. 

So they ate some breakfast in a hurry, took each a sand- 
wich left from the night before, crossed the road, climbed the 
fence, and went joyously over the green fields to church, 
thinking how much nicer it was than walking down a brick- 
paved street, past the same old grimy houses to a dim, arti- 
ficially lighted church. 

Shirley took a survey of the larder, decided that roast 
chicken, potato croquettes, and peas would all warm up 
quickly, and, as there was plenty of ice cream left and some 
cakes, they would fare royally without any work; so she sat 



144 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

beside her mother and told the whole story of her ride, the 
finding of the barn, her visit to the Graham office, and all that 
transpired until the present time. 

The mother listened, watching her child, but said no wore 
of her inner thoughts. If it occurred to her that her oldest 
daughter was fair to look upon, and that her winning ways, 
sweet, unspoiled face, and wistful eyes had somewhat to do 
with the price of their summer's abode, it would be no wonder. 
But she did not mean to trouble her child further. She would 
investigate for herself when opportunity offered. So she 
quieted all anxieties Shirley might have had about her sanc- 
tion of their selection of a home, kissed Shirley, and told her 
she felt it in her bones she was going to get well right away. 

And, indeed, there was much in the fact of the lifting of 
the burden of anjdety concerning where they should live that 
went to brighten the eyes of the invalid and strengthen her 
heart. 

When the children came home from church Shirley was 
putting dinner on the table, and her mother was arrayed in a 
pretty kimono, a relic of their better days, and ready to be 
helped to +he couch and wheeled out to the dining-room. It 
had been pleasant to see the children coming across the green 
meadow in the distance, and get things all ready for them 
when they rushed in hungry. Shirley was so happy she felt 
like crying. 

After the dinner things were washed they shoved the couch 
into the living-room among the flowers, where George had 
built up a beautiful fire, for it was still chilly. The children 
gathered around their mother and talked, making plans for 
the summer, telling about the service they had attended, 
chattering like so many magpies. The mother lay and watched 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 145 

them and was content. Sometimes her eyes would search the 
dim, mellow rafters overhead, and glance along the stone 
walls, and she would say to herself : " This is a barn ! I am 
living in a barn ! My husband's children have come to this, 
that they have no place to live but a barn ! " She was testing 
herself to see if the thought hurt her. But, looking on their 
hftppy faces, somehow she could not feel sad. 

" Children/' she said suddenly in one of the little lulls of 
conversation, " do you realize that Christ was born in a stable ? 
It isn't so bad to live in a barn. We ought to be very thankful 
for this great splendid one ! " 

" Oh mother, dear ! It is so beautiful of you to take it 
that way ! " cried Shirley with tears in her eyes. 

" Doris, you sing your little song about Jesus in the stable," 
said Carol. "HI play it for you." 

Doris, nothing loath, got a little stool, stood up beside her 
mother's couch, folded her small hands demurely, and began 
to sing without waiting for accompaniment: 

"Away in a manger, 

No trib for His head, 
The litta Lord Jesus 

Lay down His sveet head. 
The tars in the haaven 

Look down vhere 'e lay 
The litta Lord Jesus 

As'eep in the hay. 

"The catta are lowing, 

The poor baby wates; 
But the litta Lord Jesus 

No cwyin' He mates. 
I love Thee, Lord Jesus; 

Look down fum the sky, 
An* stay by my trib, 

Watching my lul-la-by! 



146 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

Shirley kissed Doris, and then they began to sing other 
things, all standing around the piano. By and by that distant 
bell from the valley called again. 

" There's a vesper service at five o'clock. Why don't you 
go, Shirley ? You and George and Harley," said Carol. 

" Me 'ant do too ! " declared Doris earnestly, and it was 
finally decided that the walk would not be too long; so the 
boys, Shirley and the baby started off across the fields, while 
Carol stayed with her mother. And this time Mrs. Hollister 
heard all about Elizabeth and how she wanted Carol to come 
and see her sometime. Heard, too, about the proposed dance, 
and its quiet squelching by the brother. Heard, and looked 
thoughtful, and wondered more. 

" Mother is afraid they are not quite our kind of people, 
dear ! " she said gently. " You mustn't get your heart bound 
up in that girl. She may be very nice, but she's a society 
girl, and you are not, you know. It stands to reason she will 
have other interests pretty soon, and then you will be dis- 
appointed when she forgets all about you." 

" She won't forget, mother, I know she won't ! " declared 
Carol stoutly. " She's not that kind. She loves me ; she told 
me so. She wanted to put one of her rings on my finger to 
' bind our friendship,' only I wouldn't let her till I had asked 
you, because I didn't have any but grandmother's to give her, 
and I couldn't give her that." 

" That was right, dear. You can't begin things like that. 
You would find a great many of them, and we haven't the 
money to keep up with a little girl who has been used to 
everything." 

Carol's face went down. Tears began to come in her eyes. 

* Can't we have even friends?" she said, turning her face 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 147 

away to hide the quiver in her lip, and the tears that were 
rolling down her cheeks. 

"Yes, dear/' said the mother sorrowfully, "but don't 
choose them from among another people. People who can't 
possibly have much in common with us. It is sure to hurt 
hard when there are differences in station like that." 

" But I didn't choose them. They chose us ! " declared 
Carol. " Elizabeth just went wild over us the first time she 
saw us, and her brother told Shirley he was glad, that it 
would do Elizabeth a lot of good to know us. He said, 
'We've learned a lot of things from you already'; just like 
that, he said it! I was coming down the stairs behind them 
when they stood here talking one day, and I couldn't help 
hearing them." 

"Yes?" said Mrs. Hollister thoughtfully. "Well, per- 
haps, but, dear, go slow and don't pin your heart to a friend- 
ship like that, for it will most likely be disappointing. Just 
be happy in what she has done for us already, and don't 
expect anything more. She may never come again. It may 
just have been a passing whim. And I don't want you to 
be always looking for her and always disappointed." 

"I shall not be disappointed, mamma," said Carol de- 
cidedly. " You'll see ! " and her face brightened. 

Then as if to make good her words a big car came whirring 
up the road and stopped in front of the barn, and almost 
before she could get to the window to look out Carol heard 
Elizabeth's voice calling softly: 

"Carol! Car-roZZ/ Are you there?" and she flung the 
door open and rushed into her new friend's arms. 

Graham came more slowly up the incline, smiling apolo- 
getically and hoping he didn't intrude, coming so soon. 



148 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

Carol led them over to the invalid and introduced he* 
friend, and the young man came after them. 

" I'm afraid this is rather soon to obey your summons, 
Mrs. Hollister," he said engagingly, " but Elizabeth couldn't 
stand it without coming over to see if you really found the 
ice-cream freezer, so I thought we'd just drop in for a minute 
and see whether you were quite comfortable." 

Somehow, suddenly, Mrs. Hollister's fears and conclusions 
concerning these two young people began to vanish, and in 
spite of her she felt just as Shirley had done, that they were 
genuine in their kindliness and friendship. Carol, watching 
her, was satisfied, and a glow of triumph shone in her eyes. 
Nevertheless, Mrs. Hollister gathered her caution about her 
as a garment, and in dignified and pleasant phrases thanked 
the two in such a way that they must see that neither she 
nor her children would ever presume upon what had been 
done for them, nor take it for more than a passing kindliness. 

But to her surprise the } r oung man did not seem to be more 
than half listening to her words. He seemed to be studying 
her face with deep intention that was almost embarrassing. 
The soft color stole into her thin cheeks, and she stopped 
speaking and looked at him in dismay. 

" I beg your pardon," he said, seeing her bewilderment, 
"but you can't understand perhaps how interested I am in 
you. I am afraid I have been guilty of staring. You see it is 
simply amazing to me to find a woman of your refinement and 
evident culture and education who is content I might even 
say joyful to live in a barn! I don't know another woman 
who would be satisfied. And you seem to have brought up 
all your children with just such happy, adaptable natures, 
that it is a great puzzle to me. I I why, I feel sort of 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 149 

rebuked! I feel that you and your children are among the 
great of the earth. Don't thank Elizabeth and me for the 
little we have been able to do toward making this barn 
habitable. It was a sort of I might say homage, due to you, 
that we were rendering. And now please don't think any- 
thing more about it. Let's just talk as if we were friends 
that is, if you are willing to accept a couple of humble 
strangers among your list of friends." 

" Why, surely, if you put it that way ! " smiled the little 
woman. "Although I'm sure I don't know what else we 
could do but be glad and happy over it that we had a barn 
like this to come to under a sweet blue sky, with a bird and 
a tree thrown in, when we literally didn't know where we 
could afford co lay our heads. You know beggars shouldn't 
be choosers, but I'm sure one would choose a spacious place 
like this any day in preference to most of the ordinary city 
houses, with their tiny dark rooms, and small breathless 
windows." 

" Even if 'twas called a barn? " 

" Even if 'twas called a barn ! " said the woman with a 
flitting dance in her eyes that reminded him of the girl 
Shirley. 

"Well, I'm learning a lot, I tell you!" said the young 
man. " The more I see of you all, the more I learn. If s 
opened my eyes to a number of things in my life that I'm 
going to set right. By the way, is Miss Hollister here? I 
brought over a book I was telling her about the other day. I 
thought she might like to see it." 

" She went over to the vesper service at the little church 
across the fields. They'll be coming home soon, I think. It 
must be nearly over." 



150 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

He looked at his watch. 

" Suppose I take the car and bring them back. You staj 
here, Elizabeth. I'll soon be back. I think I can catch them 
around by the road if I put on speed." 

He was off, and the mother lay on the couch watching the 
two girls and wishing with all her heart that it were so that 
her children might have these two fine young people for 
friends. But of course such things could not very well be 
in this world of stern realities and multitudinous conven- 
tionalities. What, for instance, would be said in the social 
set to which the Grahams belonged if it were known that some 
of their intimate friends lived in a barn? No, such things 
did not happen even in books, and the mother lay still and 
sighed. She heard the chatter of the two girls. 

" You're coming home with me to stay over Sunday pretty 
soon. Sidney said he would fix it all up with your mother 
pretty soon. We'll sleep together and have the grandest 
times. Mother likes me to have friends stay with me, but 
most of the girls I know are off at boarding-school now, and 
I'm dreadfully lonesome. We have tennis-courts and golf 
links and a bowling-alley. Do you play tennis ? And we can 
go out in the car whenever we like. It's going to be grand. 
Ill show you my dog and my poiiy I used to ride. He's 
getting old now, and I'm too big for him, but I love him just 
the same. I have a saddle-horse, but I don't ride much. I'd 
rather go motoring with Sid " 

And so she rattled on, and the mother sighed for her little 
girl who was being tempted by a new and beautiful world, and 
had not the wherewithal to enter it, even if it were possible 
for her to do so. 

Out in the sunset the car was speeding back again with 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 151 

the seats full, Doris chirping gleefully at the ride, for her 
fat legs had grown very weary with the long walk through 
the meadow and Shirley had been almost sorry she had taken 
her along. 

The hoys were shouting all sorts of questions about dogs 
and chickens and cars and a garden, and Graham was answer- 
ing them all good-humoredly, now and then turning around 
to throw back a pleasant sentence and a smile at the quiet 
girl with the happy eyes sitting in the back seat with her 
arm around her little sister. 

There WP,S nothing notable about the ride to remember. It 
was just one of those beautiful bits of pleasantness that fit into 
the mosaic of any growing friendship, a bit of color without 
which the whole is not perfect. Shirley's part in it was 
small. She said little and sat listening happily to the boys' 
conversation with Graham. She had settled it with her heart 
that morning that she and the young man on that front seat 
had nothing in future to do with each other, but it was pleas- 
ant to see him sitting there talking with her brothers. There 
was no reason why she should not be glad for that, and glad 
he was not a snob. For every time she looked on his clean, 
frank face, and saw his nice gray eyes upon her, she was 
surer that he was not a snob. 

The guests stayed a little while after they all got back, 
and accepted quite as a matter of course the dainty little 
lunch that Carol and Elizabeth, slipping away unobserved, 
prepared and brought in on trays, some of the salad left 
from dinner, some round rolls that Shirley had brought out 
with her Saturday, cut in two and crisply toasted, cups of 
delicious cocoa, and little cakes. That was all, but it tasted 
fine, and the two self-invited guests enjoyed it hugely. Then 



152 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

they all ranged themselves around the piano and sang bymns, 
and it is safe to say that the guests at least had not spent as 
"Sabbathy" a Sabbath in all their lives. Elizabeth was 
quite astonished when she suggested that they sing a popular 
song to have Carol answer in a polite but gently reproving 
tone, " Oh, not to-day, you know." 

"Why not? Doesn't your mother like it?" whispered 
Elizabeth. 

"Why, we don't any of us usually sing things like that 
on Sunday, you know. It doesn't seem like Sunday. It 
doesn't seem quite respectful to God." Carol was terribly 
embarrassed and was struggling to make her idea plain. 

" Oh ! " Elizabeth said, and stood looking wistfully, won- 
deringly at her friend, and finally stole out a soft hand and 
slipped it into Carol's, pressing her fingers as if to make her 
ki,ow she understood. Then they lifted up their voices again 
ovsr the same hymn-book: 

" Thine earthly Sabbaths, Lord, we love, 
But there's a nobler rest above ; 
To that our longing souls aspire 
With cheerful hope and strong desire." 

Graham looked about on the group as they sang, his own 
fine tenor joining in the words, his eyes lingering on the 
earnest face of his little sister as she stood arm in arm with 
the other girl, and was suddenly thrilled with the thought of 
what a Sabbath might be, kept in this way. It had never 
appealed to him quite like that before. Sabbath-keeping had 
seemed a dry, thankless task for a few fanatics; now a new 
possibility loomed vaguely in his mind. He could see that 
people like this could really make the Sabbath something to 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 153 

love, not just a day to loll through and pass the time away. 

When they finally went away there was just a streak of 
dull red left in the western horizon where the day had dis- 
appeared, and all the air was seething with sweet night 
sounds and odors, the dampness of the swamps striking coolly 
in their faces as the car sped along. 

" Sidney/' said Elizabeth after a long time, " did you ever 
feel as if God were real ? " 

" Why, how do you mean, kid ? " asked the brother, rather 
embarrassed. These subjects were not discussed at all in the 
Graham household. 

"Did you ever feel as if there really was a God some- 
where, like a person, that could see and hear you and know 
what you did and how you felt to Him? Because they do. 
Carol said they didn't sing ' Tipperary ' on Sunday because 
it didn't seem quite respectful to God, and I could see she 
really meant it. It wasn't just because her mother said she 
had to or anything like that. She thought so herself/' 

" H'm ! " said Graham thoughtfully. " Well, they're rather 
remarkable people, I think." 

"Well, I think so too, and I think it's about time you 
fixed it up with mamma to let Carol come and visit me." 

"I'm going to get mothei to go out there and call this 
week if I can," said Graham after another longer pause, and 
then added: "I think she will go and I think she will like 
them. After that we'll see, kid. Don't you worry. They're 
nice, all right." He was thinking of the look on Shirley's 
face as she sat at the piano playing for them all to sing. 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE first few days in the new home were filled with 
wonder and delight for them all. They just could not get 
used to having plenty of room indoors, with all outdoors for 
a playground. Doris's cheeks took on a lovely pink, and her 
eyes began to sparkle. She and Harley spent all day out-of- 
doors. They were making a garden. Not that they had any 
experience or any utensils. There was an old hoe and a broken 
spade down in the basement of the barn, and with these 
Harley managed to remove a few square feet of young turf, 
and mellow up an inch or two of soil depth. In this they 
planted violet roots and buttercups and daisies which they 
found in the meadows. Doris had a corner all her own, with 
neat rows of tiny stones from the brook laid in elaborate 
baby-patterns around the edge, and in this she stuck twigs 
and weeds of all descriptions, and was never daunted, only 
pained and surprised when they drooped and died in a day or 
two and had to be supplanted by others. 

It had been decided that Harley was to stop school and 
stay at home with mother and Doris, which indeed he was 
quite willing to do under the glamour of the new life. The 
school itself never had much attraction for him, and "the 
fellows" were almost forgotten in searching for angleworms 
and building dams in the creek. 

Carol went to high school every morning with Shirley 
and George on the trolley. There were only six more weeks 
till the term was over, and it was better for Carol to finish 
out her year and get her credits. Shirley thought they could 
afford the extra carfare for just that little while, and so all 
154 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 155 

day long mother and Doris and Harley kept quiet home in 
the old barn, and the meadows rang with Doris's shouts and 
Harley's answers. 

One day the doctor came out in his machine to see Mrs. 
Hollister as he had promised to do, and found her so much 
Ibetter that he told her she might get up and go .around a 
little while every day if she was very careful not to get over- 
tired. He prophesied a speedy return to health if she kept on 
looking happy and breathing this good air. He praised the 
good sense that brought her out into the country to live, in 
preference to any little tucked-up house in town, and said if 
she could only get well enough to work outdoors in the ground 
and have a flower-bed it would be the making of her. Her 
eyes brightened at that, for she loved flowers, and in the days 
of her youth had been extremely successful at making things 
grow. 

The doctor was deeply interest in the barn. He walked 
about with his hands in his pockets, looking the rooms over, 
as delighted as a child at seeing a new mechanical toy. 

" Well, now this is great ! " he said heartily. " This is 
simply great! I admire you people for having the nerve to 
go against conventionality and come out here. If I had a 
few more patients who could be persuaded to go out into the 
country and take some of the unused old barns and fix them 
up to live in, I'd have to change my occupation. It's a great 
idea, and I mean to recommend it to others if you don't mind. 
Only I doubt if I find two others who have the nerve to 
follow your example/' 

The invalid laughed. 

"Why, doctor, I can't see the nerve. We really hadn't 
any choice. We couldn't find a decent place that we could 



156 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

afford, and this was big and healthful and cost less than thd 
worst little tenement that would have done in town. Any- 
one would be a fool not to have come here." 

" Mrs. Hollister, do you know that most people would 
rather starve and swelter, yes and die in a conventional 
house, than to do such an unheard-of thing as to live in a 
barn, no matter how delightful that barn might be ? You are 
a great little woman, Mrs. Hollister, and you deserve to get 
well, and to see your children prosper. And they will. They 
have the right spirit. 5 ' 

After his visit Mrs. Hollister began to get up a little 
while every day, and her improvement in health was rapid. 
She even ventured out to see Doris's garden and watch the 
"budie" in his nest in the tree. 

One day a drayman stopped at the place and left several 
great rolls of chicken-wire, and a couple of big crates. One 
crate was bigger than the other and contained half a dozen 
big yellow hens and a beautiful rooster. The small crate 
held two lovely white rabbits. 

The children hovered joyfully over the crates. 

" Mine wabbits ! " declared Doris solemnly. " Nice Mistah 
Dwaham give Doris wabbits." 

"Did Mr. Graham say he was going to send you some 
rabbits ? " questioned her mother. 

" 'Es. He did say he was goin' to sen' me some wabbits. 
On 'e way fum chutch in big oughtymobeel. He did say he 
would give me wabbits. Oh, mine wabbits ! " Doris was in 
ecstasy. 

;Mrs. Hollister looked at the big rolls of wire questioningly; 

" George and I told him we wanted some chickens. I gnesa 
that's why he sent 'em," announced Harley excitedly. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 157 

" I hope you boys didn't hint. That's very bad manners. 
You know I can't have Mr. Graham giving you such expensive 
presents; it won't do, dear." 

" No, mother, we didn't hint. George just asked him if 
he minded if we kept chickens here, and he said no, indeed, 
he'd like to go into the business himself. He said he used to 
have a lot of his own when he was a boy, and he guessed there 
was a lot of wire from the old chicken-run around at his place 
yet. If there was, there wasn't any reason why it shouldn't 
be in use, and he'd look it up. He said, if it was, he and we'd 
go into business. He'd furnish the tools and we could do the 
work, and maybe some day we could sell eggs and make it pay." 

" That's very kind of him, I'm sure. But, Harley, that 
looks like new wire. It isn't the least bit rusted." 

" It's galvanized, mother. Galvanized wire doesn't rust, 
don't you know that ? " said Harley in a superior, man's voice. 

Harley and Doris were wild over their pets, and could do 
nothing all that day but hover about them, and the minute 
George arrived the boys went out to see about putting up 
some of the wire and making a temporary abode for the 
creatures until they could get time to plan an elaborate 
chicken-run. 

Before dark Graham arrived. He had brought a book on 
chicken-raising and had a good many suggestions to offer. 
With him in the fror x seat of the car rode a great golden- 
brown dog with a white-starred face, great affectionate eyes, 
and a plumy white tail. He bounded floppily out after 
Graham and came affably up to the door as if he understood 
everything ; and at sight of him the children went wild. 

" I brought this fellow along, thinking perhaps you'd like 
him to help look after things here. He's only a puppy, but 



158 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

he's a good breed, and I think you'll find him a splendid 
watch-dog. You don't need to keep him, of course, if you 
don't want him, Mrs. Hollister, but I thought out in the 
country this way it might be as well for you to have him on 
guard, at night especially. He'll be good company for the 
children. We've got BO many of them that we want to give 
this one away/' 

And what was there to do but accept hm t with thanks, a 
dog like that begging for a home, and a ha /no like that really 
needing a dog? 

So the dog was promptly accepted as a member of the 
family, was named Star, and accepted the overtures of his 
devoted worshippers in many amiable waggings of tail and a 
wide puppy laugh on his face. He stayed behind most con^ 
tentedly when Graham departed after a long conference 
with George and Harley over the " chicken " book, and a long 
discussion in the back yard as to the best place for the chicken- 
run. He seemed to know from the start that he had come tc 
stay, that this was his " job " and he was on it for life. 

It must be admitted that Mrs. Hollister went to sleep thas 
night with more content, knowing that big, floppy, deep- 
voiced dog was lying across the door out in the living-room. 
The hillside had seemed a bit lonely at night, though she had 
never admitted it even to herself before, and she was glad the 
iog had come. That night in the little prayer that she said 
3very night with all her children gathered about her couch in 
front of the fire, she added, " We thank Thee, oh, Lord, for 
sending us such good kind friends to make the world so much 
happier for us." 

A few days later Mrs. Graham came to call. 

Her son did not explain to her anything about the Hoi- 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 159 

listers, nor say a word about the place where they were living. 
He merely remarked casually : " Mother, there are some people 
I'd like you to call on if you don't mind. They live out 
Glenside way, and I'll take you any afternoon you have 
time." 

" I really haven't much time now before we go to the 
shore, Sidney," she said. " Couldn't they wait till the fall 
when we return ? " 

" No, mother, I'd like you to call now. It needn't take 
you long, and I think you'll like them her Mrs. Hollister, 
I mean. Can't you go this afternoon ? I'll call for you with 
the car anywhere you say, along about half-past four or five 
o'clock. It will be a pleasant little drive and rest you." 

" Shall I have to be much dressed ? " asked the mother 
thoughtfully, "because I shouldn't have time for an elab- 
orate toilet. I have to go to Madame's for a fitting, meet 
with the Red Cross committee, drop in at the hospital for a 
few minutes, and see Mrs. Sheppard and Mrs. Follette about 
our Alumni Anniversary banquet." 

"Just wear something simple, mother. They are not 
society people. It's you I want to show them, not your 
clothes." 

" You ridiculous boy ! You're as unsophisticated as your 
father. Well, I'll be ready at half-past four. You may call 
for me then at the Century Building." 

Elizabeth had been loyal to her brother's commands and 
nad said nothing about her new-found friend, awaiting his 
permission. Graham earnestly discussed the pros and cons 
of woman's suffrage with his mother during the drive out, 
BO that she was utterly unprejudiced by any former ideas 
concerning the Hollisters, which ^as exactly what her son 



160 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

desired her to be. He knew that his mother was a woman of 
the world, and hedged about by conventions of all sorts, but 
he also knew her to be fair in her judgments when once she 
saw a thing right, and a keen reader of character. He wanted 
her to see the Hollisters without the least bit of a chance to 
judge them beforehand. 

So when the car drew up in front of the old barn Mrs. 
Graham was quite unprepared to have her son get out and 
open the car door and say, "Mother, this is the place: may 
I help you out ? " She had been talking earnestly, and had 
thought he was getting out to look after something wrong 
about the car. Now she looked up startled. 

"Why, Sidney! Why, you must have made a mistake! 
This isn't a house ; it is a barn ! " 

" This is the place, mother. Just come right up this 
way." 

Mrs. Graham picked her way over the short green turf up 
to the door and stood astonished while her son knocked. What 
in the world did he mean? Was this one of his jokes? Had he 
brought her out to see a new riding-horse ? That must be it, 
of course. He was always taking a fancy to a horse or a dog. 
She really hadn't the time to spare for nonsense this after- 
noon, but one must humor one's son once in a while. She 
stepped back absent-mindedly, her eyes resting on the soft 
greens and purples of the foliage across the meadows, her 
thoughts on the next paper she intended to write for the club. 
This incident would soon be over, and then she might pursue 
the even tenor of her busy way. 

Then the door slid back and she became aware of some- 
thing unusual in the tenseness of the moment. Looking up 
quickly she saw a beautiful girl of about Elizabeth's age, 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 161 

with a wealth of dark wavy hair, lovely dark eyes, and vivid 
coloring, and by her side one of the loveliest golden-haired, 
blue-eyed babies she had ever seen in her life. In the wonder 
of the moment she forgot that the outside of the building 
had been a barn, for the curtain had risen on a new setting, 
and here on the very threshold there opened before her 
amazed eyes a charming, homelike room. 

At first she did not take in any of the details of furnish- 
ings. Everything was tastefully arranged, and the dull tones 
of wall and floor and ceiling in the late afternoon light mel- 
lowed the old furniture into its background so perfectly that 
the imperfections and make-shifts did not appear. It was 
just a place of comfort and beauty, eyen though the details 
might show shabby poverty. 

But her son was speaking. 

" Mother, this is Miss Carol Hollister, and this little girl 
is her sister Doris " 

Doris put out a fat hand and gravely laid it in the lady's 
kid glove, saying carefully, with shy lashes drooped sideways, 
and blue eyes furtively searching the stranger's face, 

"How oo do?" 

Then as if she had performed her duty, she turned on her 
smiles and dimples with a flash, and grasping Graham's hand 
said, 

" Now, Mistah Dwa'm, oo turn out an' see my wabbits ! " 

It was evident to the mother that her son had been here 
before. She looked at him for an explanation, but he only 
eaid to Carol, 

" Is your mother able to see callers for a few minutes ? " 

" Oh, yes," said Carol with a glad little ring in her voice. 
" Mother is up in a chair this afternoon. See ! The doctor 



162 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

says she may get up now, she is so much better ! " and she 
turned and flung out her arm toward the big easy chair where 
her mother sat. 

Mrs. Hollister arose and came forward to meet them. 

She was dressed in a plain little gown of cheap gray 
challis, much washed and mended, but looking somehow very 
nice; and Carol had just finished fastening one of Shirley's 
sheer white fluffy collars around her neck, with a bit of a 
pink ribbon looped in a pretty knot. Her hair was tastefully 
arranged, and she looked every inch a lady as she stood to 
receive her unexpected guests. Graham had never seen her 
in any but invalid's garb before, and he stood amazed for a 
moment at the likeness between her and Shirley. He intro- 
duced his mother with a few words, and then yielded to 
Doris's eager, pulling hand and went out to see the bunnies. 

The situation was a trifle trying for both ladies, but to the 
woman of the world perhaps the more embarrassing. She 
hadn't a clew as to who this was she had been brought to see. 
She was entirely used to dominating any situation, but for a 
moment she was almost confused. 

Mrs. Hollister, however, tactfully relieved the situation, 
with a gentle, " Won't you sit here by the fire ? It is getting 
a little cool this evening, don't you think ? " and put her at 
once at her ease. Only her family would have guessed from 
the soft pink spots in her cheeks that she was at all excited 
over her grand guest. She took the initiative at once, leading 
the talk into natural channels, about the spring and its won- 
derful unfolding in the country, exhibited a vase with jack- 
in-the-pulpits, and a glass bowl of hepaticas blushing blue and 
pink, told of the thrush that had built a nest in the elm 
over the door, and pointed out the view over the valley wher* 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 163 

the sinking sun was flashing crimson from the weather-vane 
on the little white spire of the church. She said how much 
they had enjoyed the sunsets since coming out here to live, 
taking it for granted that her visitor knew all about their 
circumstances, and making no apologies or comments; and 
the visitor, being what her son called " a good sport," showed 
no hint that she had never heard of the Hollisters before, but 
smiled and said the right thing at the right moment. And 
somehow, neither knew just how, they got to the subject of 
Browning and Ibsen, and from there to woman's suffrage, 
and when Graham returned with Carol and Harley, Doris 
chattering beside him and the dog bounding in ahead, they 
were deep in future politics. Graham sat and listened for 
a while, interested to note that the quiet little woman who 
had spent the last few years of her life working in a narrow 
dark city kitchen could talk as thoughtfully and sensibly as 
his cultured, versatile mother. 

The next trolley brought Shirley and George, and again 
the mother was amazed to find how altogether free and easy 
seemed to be the relation between all these young people. 

She gave a keen look at Shirley, and then another at her 
son, but saw nothing which gave her uneasiness. The girl 
was unconscious as a rose, and sweet and gracious to the 
stranger guests as if she had been in society all her life. She 
slipped away at once to remove her hat, and when she came 
back her hair was brushed, and she looked as fresh as a flower 
in her clean white ruffled blouse. The older woman could not 
take her eyes frum her face. What a charming girl to be set 
among all this shabbiness ! For by this time her discriminat- 
ing eyes had discovered that everything literally everything 
was shabby. Who were these people, and how did they hap- 



164 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

pen to get put here? The baby was ravishingly beautiful, 
the girls were charming, and the boys looked like splendid, 
manly fellows. The mother was a product of culture and 
refinement. Not one word or action had shown that she 
knew her surroundings were shabby. She might have been 
mistress of a palace for aught she showed of consciousness of 
the pitiful poverty about her. It was as if she were just 
dropped down for the day in a stray barn and making a 
palace out of it while she stayed. 

Unconsciously the woman of the world lingered longer 
than was her wont in making calls. She liked the atmosphere, 
and was strangely interested by them all. 

" I wish you would come and see me/' she said cordially 
as she rose at last to go, and she said it as if she meant it, 
as if she lived right around the corner and not twenty-two 
miles away, as if she really wanted her to come, and not as 
if this other woman lived in a barn at all. 

" Good old sport ! " commented her son in his heart as he 
listened. He had known she must see their worth, and yet he 
had been strangely afraid. 

Mrs. Hollister received the invitation with a flush of 
pleasure. 

" Thank you," she answered graciously, " I'm afraid not. 
I seldom go anywhere any more. But I've been very glad to 
have had this call from you. It will be a pleasure to think 
about. Come sometime again when you are out this way. 
Your son has been most kind. I cannot find words to express 
my thanks." 

" Has he ? " and his mother looked questioningly at her 
son. " Well, I'm very glad " 

"Yes, and Elizabeth! She is a dear sweet girl, and we 
all love her!" 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 165 

Revelations ! 

"Oh, has Elizabeth been here too? Well, I'm glad. I 
hope she has not been a nuisance. She's such an impulsive, 
erratic child. Elizabeth is quite a problem just now. She's 
out of school on account of her eyes, and her girl friends, 
most of them, being away at school, she is perfectly forlorn. 
I am delighted to have her with your children. I am sure 
they are charming associates for her." And her eyes rested 
approvingly on the sparkling Carol in her simple school dress 
of brown linen with its white collar and cuffs. There was 
nothing countrified about Carol. She looked dainty in the 
commonest raiment, and she smiled radiantly at Elizabeth's 
mother and won her heart. 

"Would you let Elizabeth stay overnight with us here 
sometime?" she asked shyly. 

" Why, surely ! I presume she would be delighted. She 
does about as she pleases these days. I really don't see very 
much of her, I'm so busy this time of year, just at the end of 
the season, you know, and lots of committee meetings and teas 
and things." 

They stopped at the doorway to look up into the big tree, 
in response to the earnest solicitations of Doris, who pulled 
at the lady's gloved hand insistently^ murmuring sweetly: 

" Budie ! Budie ! See mine budie in the twee ! " 

The Hollisters stood grouped at the doorway when at last 
the visitors got into their car and went away. Mrs. Graham 
looked back at them wistfully. 

" What a lovely group they make ! " she murmured. " Now, 
Sidney, tell me at once who they are and why they live in a 
barn, and why you brought me out here. I know you had 
some special object. I knew the minute I saw that charming 



166 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

" Mother, you certainly are great ! I thought you'd have 
the good sense to see what they are/' 

" Why, I haven't spent a more delightful hour in a long 
time than I spent talking with her. She has very original 
ideas, and she expresses herself well. As for the children, 
they are lovely. That oldest girl has a great deal of char- 
acter in her face. But what are they doing in a barn, 
Sidney, and how did you come to know them ? " 

And so, as they speeded out the smooth turnpike to their 
lovely home Sidney Graham told his mother as much of the 
story of Shirley Hollister and the old barn as he thought she 
would care to know, and his mother sat thoughtfully 
watching his handsome, enthusiastic face while he talked, and 
wondering. 

One comment she made as they swept up the beautiful 
drive to their luxurious country home: 

" Sidney dear, they are delightful and all that, and I'm 
sure I'm glad to have that little girl come to see Elizabeth, 
but if I were you I wouldn't go out there too often when 
that handsome oldest girl is at home. She's not exactly in 
your set, you know, charming as she is, and you wouldn't 
want to give her any ideas. A gentleman looks out for 
things like that, you know." 

" What has being in our set got to do with it, mother dear ? 
Do you know any girl in our set that is better-looking or has 
nicer manners, or a finer appreciation of nature and books? 
You ought to hear her talk ! " 

"Yes, but, Sidney, that isn't everything! She isn't 
exactly " 

"Mother, were you and father, when you used to have 
good times together? Now, mother, you know you are just 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 167 

talking twaddle when you let that idea about ' our set ' rule 
your mind. Be a good sport, mother dear, and look the facts 
in the face. That girl is as good as any other girl I know, 
and you know it. She's better than most. Please admit the 
facts. Yet you never warned me to be careful about calling 
on any of the girls in our set. Do please be consistent. How- 
ever, don't worry about me. I've no idea at present of paying 
any special attention to anybody," and he swung the car door 
pen and jumped down to help her out. 



bb-ow *>d libwia w 






CHAPTER XV 

A MAN arrived one morning with a horse and a plough and 
several other implements of farm life of which Harley didn't 
know the name, and announced that Mr. Graham had sent 
him to plough the garden. Would Mrs. Hollister please tell 
him where she wanted the ground broken, and how much? 
He volunteered the information that he was her next neigh- 
bor, and that if he was in her place he'd plough the south 
elope of the meadow, and if she wanted flower-beds a strip 
along the front near the road; the soil was best in those 
spots, and she wouldn't need so much fertilizer. 

Mrs. Hollister asked him how much he would charge to 
do it, and he said a little job like that wasn't worth talking 
about; that he used to rent the barn himself, and he always 
did a little turn for Mr. Graham whenever he needed it. He 
did it for Mr. Graham, and it wouldn't cost her "nothin'." 

Mrs. Hollister asked him how much he would charge to 
see where it would be best to have the ploughing done, and 
when she came in a few minutes later and dropped down on 
the couch to rest from her unusual fatigue a new thought 
was racing through her mind. They could have a garden, a 
real garden, with lettuce and green peas and lima beans and 
corn ! She knew all about making them grow. She had been 
brought up in a little village home, where a garden was a part 
of every one's necessary equipment for living. She used to 
kelp her father every spring and all summer. Her own littk 
patch always took the prize of the family. But for years she 
had been in the city without an inch of space. Now, how- 
168 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 169 

ever, the old fever of delight in gardening took possession of 
her. If she could get out and work in the ground, as the doctor 
had suggested, she would get well right away. And why, with 
Harley to help, and George and Carol to work a little every 
evening, couldn't they raise enough on all that ground to sell 
some ? George could take things into town early in the morn- 
ing, or they could find some private families who would buy 
all they had to sell. It was worth thinking about, anyway. 
She could raise flowers for sale, too. She had always been a 
success with flowers. She had always wanted a hothouse and 
a chance to experiment. She heard the children say there 
were some old window-sashes down under the barn. She 
would get George to bring them out, and see what she could 
do with a coldframe or two. Violets would grow under a 
coldframe, and a lot of other things. Oh, if they could only 
just live here always, and not have to go back to the city in 
the fall ! But of course there was no way to heat the barn in 
winter, and that was out of the question. Nevertheless, the 
idea of making some money with growing things had seized 
hold of her mind and would not be entirely put by. She 
thought of it much, and talked of it now and then to Shirley 
and the other children. 

Shirley brought home some packages of seeds she got at 
the ten-cent store, and there was great excitement planting 
them. Then Mr. Graham sent over a lot of seeds, of both 
vegetables and flowers, and some shrubs, puttings and bulbs 
which he said were " left-overs " at their country house that 
he thought perhaps the children could use ; and so before the 
Hollisters knew it they were possessed of a garden, which 
almost in a breath lifted up its green head and began to grow, 

Life was very full for the Hollisters in those days, and 



170 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

those who went to the city for the day could hardly bear to 
tear themselves away from the many delights of the country. 
The puppy was getting bigger and wiser every day, tagging 
Doris and Harley wherever they went, or sitting adoringly at 
Mrs. Hollister's feet ; always bounding out to meet the evening 
trolley on which George and Shirley came, and always attend- 
ing them to the trolley in the morning. 

Out behind the barn a tiny coop held a white hen and her 
seven little downy balls of chickens. Another hen was hap- 
pily ensconced in a barrel of hay with ten big blue duck- 
eggs under her happy wings, and a little further down toward 
the creek a fine chicken-run ended in a trig little roosting- 
place for the poultry, which George had manufactured out 
of a packing-box and some boards. The feathered family had 
been increased by two white Leghorns and three bantams. 
George and Harley spent their evenings watching them and 
discussing the price of eggs and chickens per pound. They 
were all very happy. 

Elizabeth came out to spend Sunday as she had promised. 
She got up early to see the sun rise and watch the birds. She 
helped get breakfast and wash the dishes. Then she went with 
the others across the fields to the little white church in the 
valley to Sunday-school and church. She was as hungry and 
eager as any of them when she came home, and joyfully 
helped to do the work, taking great pride in the potatoes she 
was allowed to warm up under careful tutelage. In the 
afternoon there was no more eager listener among them to 
the Bible story Shirley told to Doris and the book she read 
aloud to them all afterward; her voice was sweetest and 
.clearest of them all in the hymns they sang together; and she 
was most eager to go with Shirley to the, Christian Endeavor 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 171 

" 1 shouldn't wonder if Sidney wishes he was here too/ 1 
she remarked dreamily that evening, as she sat before the fir? 
on a little cushion, her chin in her hands, her eyes on thd 
fantastic shadows in the ashes. 

She went to school with Carol the next morning, came 
home with her in the afternoon, and when her brother came 
for her in the evening she was most reluctant to go home to 
the big, lonely, elegant house again, and begged that Carol 
might soon come and see her. 

Friday afternoon Elizabeth called up Mrs. Hollister. 

" Please, Mrs. Hollister, let Carol come and stay with me 
till Monday. I'm so lonesome, and mamma says she will be 
so glad if you will let her come/' 

" Oh, my dear, that would be impossible. Carol isn't 
suitably dressed to make a visit, you know," answered tha 
mother quickly, glad that she had so good an excuse for keep- 
ing her child from this venture into an alien world about 
which she had many grave doubts. 

But the young voice at the other end of the telephone 
was insistent. 

" Dear Mrs. Hollister, please ! She doesn't need any other 
clothes. I've got lots of things that would fit her. She loaned 
me her gingham dress to make garden in, and why shouldn't 
I loan her a dress to wear on Sunday? I've got plenty of 
clean middy blouses and skirts and can fix her all out fresb 
for school, too, Monday morning, and if you'll just let her 
stay Sidney will take us both down to her school when he 
goes to the office. You've got all those children there at 
home, and I've only myself. Sidney doesn't count, you know, 
for he's grown up." 

So, with a sigh, the mother gave her consent, and Carol 



172 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

found the Graham car waiting for her when she came out of 
school. Thus she started on her first venture into the world. 

It was all like fairy-land that wonderful week-end to the 
little girl whose memories were full of burdens and sacrifices : 
the palatial home of many rooms and rich furnishings, the 
swarm of servants, the anticipation of every want, the wide, 
beautiful grounds with all that heart could wish in the way 
of beauty and amusement, the music-room with grand piano, 
harp, and violin lying mute most of the time, the great library 
with its walls lined with rare books, mostly unread. Every- 
thing there to satisfy any whim, reasonable or unreasonable, 
and nobody using any of it much. 

"Not a room in the whole place as dear and cozy and 
homey as this ! " sighed Carol happily, sinking into the old 
denim-covered couch before the fireplace in the barn-living- 
room that Monday night after she got home. " I declare, 
mother, I don't see how Elizabeth stands it. Her mother is 
nice, but she's hardly ever there, unless she has a swarm of 
people dinnering or teaing or lunching. She hardly ever has 
time to speak to Elizabeth, and Elizabeth doesn't seem to 
care much, either. She almost seems to think more of that 
old nurse Susan that took care of her when she was a baby 
than she does of .her mother. I'm so glad I was sent to you 
instead of to her ! " And Carol suddenly slipped across the 
room and buried her face in her mother's neck, hugging and 
kissing her, leaving a few bright tears on her mother's 
happy face. 

It was a wonderful relief to Mrs. Hollister to find her 
child unspoiled by her first experience of the world and glad 
to get back to her home, after all the anxiety her mother heart 
had felt. Carol presently sat up and told them minutely all 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 173 

about her visit. The grand concert that Sidney had taken 
them to Friday evening in the Academy of Music, where a 
world-renowned pianist was the soloist with the great sym- 
phony orchestra; the tennis and riding Saturday morning; 
the luncheon at a neighboring estate, where there were three 
Igirls and a brother who were " snobs " and hadn't at all good 
^manners; the party in the evening that lasted so late that 
they didn't get to bed till long after midnight; the beautiful 
room they slept in, with every imaginable article for the toilet 
done in sterling silver with monograms; the strange Sab- 
bath, with no service in the morning because they woke up 
too late, and no suggestion of anything but a holiday, 
except the vesper service in a cold, formal chapel that Carol 
had begged to go to; just a lot of worldly music and enter- 
taming, with a multitude of visitors for the end of it. Carol 
told of the beautiful dresses that Elizabeth had loaned her, 
coral crepe de chine accordion-plaited for the concert, white 
with an orange sash for the luncheon, pale yellow with a 
black velvet girdle for the party, a little blue silk affair and 
another lovely white organdie for Sunday, and all with their 
accompanying silk stockings and slippers and gloves, and 
necklaces and bands for her hair. It was most wonderful to 
her, and as they listened they marvelled that their Carol had 
come back to them so gladly, and rejoiced to see her nestling 
in her brown linen skirt and middy blouse close beside her 
mother's chair. She declared herself satisfied with her flight 
into the world. She might like to go again for a glimpse 
now and then, but she thought she would rather have Eliza- 
beth out to Glenside. She hated to lose any of the time out 
here, it was so pretty. Besides, it was lonesome without 
them all. 

About that time Shirley picked up the morning paper in 



174 THE ENCiiANTED BARN 

her office one day to look up a matter for Mr. Barnard. Her 
eye happened to fall on the society column and catch the 
name of Sidney Graham. She glanced down the column. It 
was an account of a wedding in high circles in which Graham 
had taken the part of best man, with Miss Harriet Hale 
in blue tulle and white orchids as maid of honor for his 
partner down the aisle. She read the column hurriedly, 
hungrily, getting every detail, white spats, gardenia, and all fc 
until in those few printed sentences a picture was printed 
indelibly upon her vision, of Graham walking down the lily- 
garlanded aisle with the maid in blue tulle and white orchids 
on his arm. To make it more vivid the lady's picture was 
in the paper along with Graham's, just under those of the 
bride and groom, and her face was both handsome and 
haughty. One could tell that by the tilt of chin, the short 
upper lip, the cynical curve of mouth and sweep of long eye- 
lash, the extreme effect of her dress and the arrangement of 
her hair. Only a beauty could have stood that hair and not 
been positively ugly. 

Shirley suddenly realized what she was doing and turned 
over the page of the paper with a jerk that tore the sheet 
from top to bottom, going on with her search for the real- 
estate column and the item she was after. All that morning 
her typewriter keys clicked with mad rapidity, yet her work 
was strangely correct and perfect. She was working under a 
tense strain. 

By noon she had herself in hand, realized what she had 
been doing with her vagrant thoughts, and was able to laugh 
at Miss Harriet Hale whoever or whatever she was. What 
mattered it, Miss Harriet Hale or somebody else ? What was 
that to Shirley Hollister? Mr. Graham was her landlord 
and a kindly gentleman. He would probably continue to be 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 175 

that to her to the end of her tenancy, without regard to 
Miss Hale or any other intruding Miss, and what did any- 
thing else matter? She wanted nothing else of Mr. Graham 
but to be a kindly gentleman whenever it was her necessity 
to come in his way. 

But although her philosophy was on hand and her pride 
was aroused, she realized just where her heart might have 
Deen tending if it had not been for this little jolt it got; 
and she resolved to keep out of the gentleman's way when- 
ever it was possible, and also, as far as she was able, to think 
no more about him. 

Keeping out of Sidney Graham's way was one thing, but 
making him keep out of her way was quite another matter, 
and Shirley realized it every time he came out to Glenside, 
which he did quite frequently. She could not say to him that 
she wished he would not come. She could not be rude to him. 
when he came. There was no way of showing him pointedly 
that she was not thinking of him in any way but as her land- 
lord, because he never showed in any way that he was ex- 
pecting her to. He just happened in evening after evening, 
in his frank, jolly way, on one pretext or other, never staying 
very long, never showing her any more attention than he did 
her mother or Carol or the boys, not so much as he did to 
Doris. How was she to do anything but sit quietly and take 
the whole thing as a matter of course ? It really was a matter 
to deal with in her own heart alone. And there the battle 
must be fought if ever battle there was to be. Meantime, she 
could not but own that this frank, smiling, merry young man 
did bring a lot of life and pleasure into their lives, dropping 
in that way, and why should she not enjoy it when it came, 
seeing it in no wise interfered with Miss Harriet Hale's rights 
tnd prerogatives? Nevertheless, Shirley withdrew more and 



176 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

more into quietness whenever he came, and often slipped into 
the kitchen on some household pretext, until one day be boldly 
came out into the kitchen after her with a book he wanted her 
to read, and was so frank and companionable that she led 
the way back to the living-room, and concluded it would be 
better in future to stay with the rest of the family. 

Shirley had no intention whatever of letting her heart 
stray out after any impossible society man. She had her work 
in the world, and to it she meant to stick. If there were 
dreams she kept them well under lock and key, and only took 
them out now and then at night when she was very tired and 
discouraged and life looked hard and long and lonely on 
ahead. Shirley had no intention that Sidney Graham should 
ever have reason to think, when he married Miss Harriet 
Hale or some one equivalent to her, that any poor little 
stenographer living in a barn had at one time fancied him 
fond of her. No, indeed ! Shirley tilted her firm little chin 
at the thought, and declined to ride with Graham and 
Elizabeth the next time they called at the office for her, on 
the plea that she had promised to go home in the trolley with 
one of the office girls. And yet the next time she saw him he 
was just as pleasant, and showed no sign that she had declined 
his invitation. In fact, the whole basis of their acquaintance 
was such that she felt free to go her own way and yet know 
he would be just as pleasant a friend whenever she needed one. 

Matters stood in this way when Graham was suddenly 
obliged to go West on a trip for the office, to be gone three or 
four weeks. Mrs. Graham and Elizabeth went to the Adiron- 
dacks for a short trip, and the people at Glenside settled down 
to quiet country life, broken only by a few visits from their 
farm neighbors, and a call from the cheery, shabby pastor of 
+.he little white church in the valley. 



CHAPTER XVI 

GRAHAM did not seem to forget his friends entirely while 
he was gone. The boys received a number of post-cards from 
time to time, and a lot of fine views of California, Yellowstone 
Park, the Grand Canon, and other spots of interest. A 
wonderful picture-book came for Doris, with Chinese pictures, 
and rhymes printed on crepe paper. The next morning a 
tiny sandalwood fan arrived for Carol with Graham's compli- 
ments, and a few days later a big box of oranges for Mrs. 
Hollister with no clew whatever as to their sender. Shirley 
began to wonder what her part would be and what she should 
do about it, and presently received a letter ! And then, after 
all, it was only a pleasant request that she would not pay the 
rent, about which she had always been so punctual, until his 
return, as no one else understood about his affairs. He added 
A few words about his pleasant trip and a wish that they were 
all prospering, and that was all. 

Shirley was disappointed, of course, and yet, if he had said 
more, or if he had ventured to send her even a mere trifle 
of a gift, it would have made her uncomfortable and set her 
questioning how she should treat him and it. It was the 
perfection of his behavior that he had not overstepped a single 
bound that the most particular might set for a landlord and 
his respected tenant. She drew a deep sigh and put the 
letter back into the envelope, and ae she did so she spied a 
small card, smaller than the envelope, on which was an 
exquisite bit of scenery, a colored photograph, apparently, 
and underneath had been pencilled, " One of the many beau- 
12 177 



178 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

tiful spots in California that I am sure you would appreciate.* 

Her heart gave an unforbidden leap, and was promptly 
taken to task for it. Yet when Shirley went back to her 
typewriter the bit of a picture was pinned to the wall back of 
her desk, and her eyes rested on it many times that day when 
she lifted them from her work. It is questionable whether 
Shirley remembered Miss Harriet Hale at all that day. 

The garden was growing beautifully now. There would 
soon be lettuce and radishes ready to eat. George had secured 
a number of customers through people at the store, and was 
planning to take early trips to town, when his produce was 
ripe, to deliver it. They watched every night and looked 
again every morning for signs of the first pea blossoms, and 
the little green spires of onion tops, like sparse hairs, begin- 
ning to shoot up. Every day brought some new wonder. 
They almost forgot they had ever lived in the little old brick 
house, until George rode by there on his bicycle one noon and 
reported that it had been half pulled down, and you could 
now see the outline of where the stairs and closets had been, 
done in plaster, on the side of the next house. They were 
all very silent for a minute thinking after he told that, and 
Mrs. Hollister looked around the great airy place in which 
they were sitting, an I then out the open door where the faint 
stain of sunset was still lingering against the horizon, and 
aid: 

"We ought all to be very thankful, children. George, 
get the Bible and read the thirty-fourth psalm/' Wonder- 
ingly George obeyed, and they all sat listening as the words 
sank into their souls. 

" Now/' said the mother when the psalm was finished 
and those last words, " The Lord redeemeth the souJ of his 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 179 

servants, and none of them that trust in mm shall be desolate" ; 
" now let us kneel down and thank Him." 

And they all knelt while she prayed a few earnest, simple 
words of thanksgiving and commended them to God's keeping. 

By this time Mrs. Hollister was so well that she went every 
day for a little while into the garden and worked, and was 
able to do a great deal in the house. The children were over- 
joyed, and lived in a continual trance of delight over the 
wild, free life they were living. Carol's school had closed 
and Carol was at home all day. This made one more to help 
in the garden. George was talking about building a little 
pigeon-house and raising squabs for sale. The man who did 
the ploughing had given him a couple to start with and told 
him there was money in squabs if one only went about it 
right. George and Harley pored over a book that told all 
about it, and talked much on the subject. 

The weather was growing warm, and Shirley was wishing 
her vacation came in July or August instead of the first two 
weeks in September. Somehow she felt so used up these hot 
days, and the hours dragged by so slowly. At night the 
trolleys were crowded until they were half-way out to Glen- 
side. She often had to stand, and her head ached a great 
deal. Yet she was very happy and thankful only there was 
BO much to be done in this world, and she seemed to have so 
little strength to do it all. The burden of next fall came 
occasionally to mar the beauty of the summer, and rested 
heavily upon her young shoulders. If only there wouldn't be 
any winter for just one year, and they could stay in the 
barn and get rested and get a little money ahead somehow for 
moving. It was going to be so hard to leave that wide, beau- 
tiful abiding-place, barn though it was. 



180 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

One morning nearly four weeks after Graham lef< for 
California Shirley was called from her desk to the outer 
office to take some dictation for Mr. Clegg. While she was 
there two men entered the outer office and asked for Mr. 
Barnard. One of them was a short, thick-set man with a 
pretentious wide gray mustache parted in the middle and 
combed elaborately out on his cheeks. He had a red face, little 
cunning eyes, and a cruel set to his jaw, which somehow seemed 
ridiculously at variance with his loud, checked suit, sporty 
necktie of soft bright blue satin, set with a scarf-pin of two 
magnificent stones, a diamond and a sapphire, and with the 
three showy jewelled rings which he wore on his fat, pudgy 
hand. The other man was sly, quiet, gray, unobtrusive, 
obviously the henchman of the first. 

Mr. Clegg told the men they might go into the inner 
office and wait for Mr. Barnard, who would probably be in 
shortly, and Shirley watched them as they passed out of her 
view, wondering idly why those exquisite stones had to be 
wasted in such an out-of-place spot as in that coarse-looking 
man's necktie, and if a man like that really cared for beau- 
tiful things, else why should he wear them ? It was only a 
passing thought, and then she took up her pencil and took 
down the closing sentences of the letter Mr. Clegg was dic- 
tating. It was but a moment more and she was free to go 
back to her own little alcove just behind Mr. Barnard's office 
and connecting with it. There was an entrance to it from 
the tiny cloak-room, which she always used when Mr. Barnard 
had visitors in his office, and through this way she now went, 
having a strange repugnance toward being seen by the two 
men. She had an innate sense that the man with the gaudy 
garments would not be one who would treat a young 1 girl in^ 



ENCHANTED BARN 181 

tier position with any respect, and she did not care to come 
xmder his coarse gaze, so she slipped in quietly through the 
cloak-room, and passed like a shadow the open door into 
Mr. Barnard's office, where they sat with their backs toward 
her, having evidently just settled down and begun to talk. 
She could hear a low-breathed comment on the furnishings 
of the office as indicating a good bank-account of the owner, 
and a coarse jest about a photograph of Mr. Barnard's wife 
which stood on his desk. It made her wish that the door 
between the rooms was closed; yet she did not care to rise 
and close it lest she should call attention to herself, and of 
course it might be but a minute or two before Mr. Barnard 
returned. A pile of envelopes to be addressed lay on her 
desk, and this work she could do without any noise, so she 
slipped softly into her seat and began to work. 

"Well, we got them Grahams good and fast now!" a 
coarse voice, that she knew for that of the man with the loud 
clothing, spoke. " The young feller bit all right ! I thought 
he would. He's that kind." He stopped for a laugh of con- 
tempt, and Shirley's heart stood still with apprehension. 
What could it mean ? Was it something about her Grahams ? 
Some danger threatening them ? Some game being played on 
them? He looked like the kind of man who lived on the 
blindnesses of others. What was it they called such? A 
parasite? Instinctively she was on the alert at once, and< 
automatically she reached for the pad on which she took 
dictation and began to write down in shorthand what she 
had just heard. The voice in the other room went on and her 
fountain pen kept eager pace, her breath coming quick and 
short now, and her face white with excitement. 

"He went out to see the place, you know, examine the 



182 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

mines and all that. Oh, he's awful cautious ! Thought he 
took a government expert with him to test the ore. We fixed 
that up all right had the very man on tap at the right minute, 
government papers all 0. K. you couldn't have told 'em 
from the real thing. It was Casey; you know him; he's a 
cracker jack on a job like that, could fool the devil himself. 
Well, he swore it was the finest kind of ore and all that kind 
of dope, and led that Graham kid around as sweetly as a 
blue-eyed baby. We had a gang out there all bribed, you 
know, to swear to things, and took particular pains so Graham 
would go around and ask the right ones questions, Casey 
tended to that, and now he's come home with the biggest 
kind of a, tale and ready to boost the thing to the skies. I've 
got his word for it, and his daddy is to sign the papers this 
morning. When he wakes up one of these fine days he'll 
find himself minus a hundred thousand or so, and nobody to 
blame for it, because how could anybody be expected to know 
that those are only pockets? He'll recommend it right and 
left too, and we'll clean out a lot of other fellers before we 
get done. Teddy, my boy, pat yourself on the back ! We'll 
have a tidy little sum between us when we pull out of this 
deal, and take a foreign trip for our health till the fracas 
blows over. Now mind you, not a word of this to Barnard 
when he comes in. We're only going to pave the way this 
morning. The real tip comes from Graham himself. See ? " 
Shirley was faint and dizzy with excitement as she finished 
writing, and her brain was in a whirl. She felt as if she would 
scream in a minute if this strain kept up. The papers were 
to be signed that morning! Even now the deed might be 
done and it would be too late, perhaps, to stop it. And yet 
she must make no sign, must not have the men know that she 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 183 

was there and that they had been heard. She must sit here 
breathless until they were gone, so they would not know she 
had overheard them, or they might manage to prevent her 
getting word to Graham. How long would they stay ? Would 
they talk on and reveal more? The other man had only 
grunted something unintelligible in reply, and then before 
more could be said an office boy opened the outer door and told 
them that Mr. Barnard had just phoned that he would not be 
back before two o'clock. 

The men swore and went out grumbling. Suddenly 
Shirley knew her time had come to do something. Stepping 
quickly to the door she scanned the room carefully to make 
sure they were gone, then closing her own door she took up 
the telephone on her desk and called up the Graham number. 
She did not know just what she meant to say, nor what she 
would do if Sidney Graham were not in the office, and it was 
hardly probable he would be there yet if he had only arrived 
home the day before. He would be likely to take a day off 
before getting back to work. Her throbbing heart beat out 
these questions to her brain while she waited for the number. 
Would she dare to ask for Mr. Walter Graham? And if she 
did, what would she say to him ? How explain ? He did not 
know her, and probably never heard of her. He might think 
her crazy. Then there ^as always the possibility that there 
wafl some mistake and yet it seemed a coincidence that two 
men of the same name should both be going West at that time. 
It must be these Grahams that the plot was against. But how 
explain enough over the phone to do any good ? Of course she 
must give them a copy of what she had taken down in short- 
hand, but first she must stop the signing of those papers, what- 
ever they were, at ill costs. 



184 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

Then all at once, into the midst of her whirling confusion 
of thoughts, came a voice at the other end of the phone, 
" Hello ! " and her frantic senses realized that it was a 
familiar one. 

" Oh, is this, -this is Mr. Sidney Graham, isn't it? This 
is Shirley Hollister." 

There was a catch in her voice that sounded almost like a 
sob as she drew in her breath with relief to know that he 
was there, and his answer came in swift alarm: 

" Yes ? Is there anything the matter, Miss Shirley ? You 
are not ill, are you?" 

There was a sharp note of anxiety in the young man'a 
voice, and even in her excitement it made Shirley's heart 
leap to hear it. 

" No, there is nothing the matter with me," she said, 
trying to steady her voice, " but something has happened that 
I think you ought to know at once. I don't know whether I 
ought to tell it over the phone. I'm not sure but I may be^ 
overheard." 

" I will come to you immediately. Where can I find you? " 

Her heart leaped again at his willingness to trust her and 
to obey her call. 

" In Mr. Barnard's private office. If you ask for me they 
will let you come right in. There is one thing more. If there 
is anything important your father was to decide this morn- 
ing, could you get him to wait till you return, or till you 
phone him?" 

There was a second's hesitation, and the reply was politely 
puzzled but courteous: 

" He is not in the office at present and will not be for an 
hour." 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 185 

" Oh, I'm so glad ! Then please hurry! " 

" I will get there as soon as I can," and the phone clicked 
into place. 

Shirley sat back in her chair and pressed her hands over 
her eyes to concentrate all her powers. Then she turned to 
her typewriter and began to copy off the shorthand, her 
fingers flying over the keys with more than their usual swift- 
ness. As she wrote she prayed, prayed that nothing might 
have been signed, and that her warning might not come too 
late; prayed, too, that Mr. Barnard might not return until 
Mr. Graham had been and gone, and that Mr. Graham might 
not think her an utter fool in case this proved to have nothing 
whatever to do with his affairs. 



CHAPTEK XVII 

WHEN Graham entered the office Shirley came to meet him 
quietly, without a word of greeting other than to put her 
little cold hand into his that he held out to her. She began 
to speak in a low voice full of suppressed excitement. She had 
a vague fear lest the two men might be still lingering about 
the outer office, waiting for Mr. Barnard, and a momentary 
dread lest Mr. Barnard might enter the room at any minute. 
She must get the telling over before he came. 

" Mr. Graham, two men were sitting in this room waiting 
for Mr. Barnard a few minutes ago, and I was in my little 
room just back there. I could not help hearing what they 
said, and when I caught the name of Graham in connection 
with what sounded like an evil plot I took down their words 
in shorthand. It may not have anything to do with your 
firm, but 1 thought I ought to let you know. I called you on 
the phone as soon as they left the office and would not hear me, 
and I have made this copy of their conversation. Eead it 
quickly, please, because if it does have anything to do with 
you, you will want to phone your father at once, before those 
men can get there/' 

Her tone was very cool, and her hand was steady as she 
handed him the typewritten paper, but her heart was beat- 
ing mildly, because there had been a look in his eyes as he 
greeted her that made her feel that he was glad to see her, 
and it touched an answering gladness in her heart and filled 
her both with delight and with apprehension. What a fool 
she was ! 
186 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 187 

She turned sharply away and busied herself with arrang- 
ing some papers on Mr. Barnard's desk while he read. She 
must still this excitement and get control of herself before he 
was through. She must be the cool, impersonal stenographer, 
and not let him suspect for a moment that she was so excited 
about seeing him again. 

The young man stood still, reading rapidly, his face grow- 
ing graver as he read. The girl snatched a furtive glance at 
him, and felt convinced that the matter was a serious one and 
fead to do with him, 

Suddenly he looked up. 

".Do you know who those men were, Miss Shirley?" he 
asked, and she saw his eyes were full of anxiety. 

" No/' said Shirley. " But I saw them as they passed 
through the outer office, and stopped to speak to Mr. Clegg. 
I was taking dictation from Mr. Clegg at the time. I came 
back to my desk through the cloak-room, so they did not know 
I was within hearing." 

"What kind of looking men were they? Do you 
remember ? " 

She described them. 

Certainty grew in his face as she talked, and grave concern. 

" May I use your phone a minute ? " he asked after an 
instant's thought. 

She led him to her own desk and handed him the receiver, 
then stepped back into the office and waited. 

" Hello! Is that you, Edward?" she heard him say. 
" Has father come yet ? Give me his phone, please. Hello, 
father; this is Sidney. Father, has Kremnitz come in yet? 
He has ? You say he's waiting in the office to see you ? Well, 
don't see him, father, till I get there. Something has turned 



188 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

up that I'm afraid is going to alter matters entirely. 
pretty serious, I'm afraid. Don't see him. Keep him waiting. 
I'll be there in five minutes, and come in from the back way 
directly to your office. Don't talk with him on any account 
till I can get there. Good-by." 

He hung up the receiver and turned to Shirley. 

" Miss Shirley, you were just in time to save us. I haven't 
time now to tell you how grateful I am for this. I must 
hurry right over. Do you suppose if we should need you it 
would be possible for you to come over and identify those 
men ? Thank you. I'll speak to Mr. Clegg about it as I go 
out, and if we find it necessary we'll phone you. In case you 
have to come I'll have an office-boy in the hall to take youi 
hat, and you can come right into the office as if you wero 
one of our employees just walk over to the bookcase as if 
you were looking for a book any book. Select one and look 
through it, meanwhile glancing around the room, and see if 
you find those men. Then walk through into my office. I'll 
be waiting there. G-ood-by, and thank you so much ! " 

He gave her hand one quick clasp and was gone, and 
Shirley found she was trembling from head to foot. She 
walked quickly into her own room and sat down, burying her 
face in her hands and trying to get control of herself, but the 
tears would come to her eyes in spite of all she could do. It 
was not the excitement of getting the men and stopping their 
evil plans before they could do any damage, although that had 
something to do with her nervous state, of course; and it 
was not just that she had been able to do a little thing in 
return for all he had done for her; nor even his gratitude; 
it was she could not deny it to herself it was a certain 
quality in his voice, a something in the look he ga/e her, that ( 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 180 

made her whole soul glow, and seemed to fill the hungry 
longing that had been in her heart. 

It frightened her and made her ashamed, and as she sat 
with bowed head she prayed that she might be given strength 
to act like a sensible girl, and crush out such foolish thoughts 
before they dared lift their heads and be recognized even by 
her own heart. Then strengthened, she resolved to think no 
more about the matter, but just get her work done and be 
ready to enter into that other business if it became necessary. 
Mr. Barnard would be coming soon, and she must have his 
work finished. She had lost almost an hour by this matter. 

She went at her typewriter pell-mell, and soon had Mr. 
Clegg's letters done. She was nearly through with the ad- 
dressing that Mr. Barnard left for her to do when the 
telephone called her to Graham's office. 

She slipped on her hat and hurried out. 

"Will it be all right for me to take my noontime now, 
Mr. Clegg ? " she said, stopping by his desk. " Mr. Graham 
said he spoke to you." 

" Yes, he wants you to help him identify some one. That's 
all right. I'll explain to Mr. Barnard when he comes. There's 
nothing important you have to finish, is there? All done 
but those envelopes? Well, you needn't return until one 
o'clock, anyway. The envelopes can wait till the four-o'clock 
mail, and if Mr. Barnard needs anything in a hurry Miss 
Dwight can attend to it this time. Just take your time, 
Miss Hollister." 

Shirley went out bewildered by the unusual generosity of 
Mr. Clegg, who was usually taciturn and abrupt. She 
realized, however, that his warmth must be due to Graham's 
*isit, and not to any special desire to give her a holiday. She 



190 THE ENCHANTED BARN < 

smiled to think what a difference wealth and position made 
in the eyes of the world. 

The same office-boy she had met on her first visit to 
Graham's office was waiting most respectfully for her now 
in the hall when she got out of the elevator, and she gave 
him her hat and walked into the office according to pro- 
gramme, going straight to the big glass bookcase full of 
calf -bound volumes, and selecting one after running her finger 
over two rows of them. She was as cool as though her part 
had been rehearsed many times, although her heart was pound- 
ing most unmercifully, and it seemed as though the people 
in the next room must hear it. She stood and opened her 
book, casting a casual glance about the room. 

There, sure enough, quite near to her, sat the two men, 
fairly bursting with impatience. The once immaculate hair 
of the loudly dressed one was rumpled as if he had run his 
fingers through it many times, and he played nervously with 
his heavy rings, and caressed half viciously his elaborate mus* 
tache, working his thick, sensuous lips impatiently all the 
while. Shirley took a good look at him, necktie, scarf-pin, 
and ail ; looked keenly into the face of the gray one also ; then 
coolly closed the door of the bookcase and carried the book she 
had selected into Sidney Graham's office. 

Graham was there, standing to receive her, and just back 
of him stood a kindly-faced elderly man with merry blue eyes, 
gray hair, and a stylishly cut beard. By their attitude and 
manner Shirley somehow sensed that they had both been 
watching her. Then Graham introduced her. 

" This is my father, Miss Hollister." 

The elder man took her hand and shook it heartily, speak- 
ing in a gruff, hearty way that won her from the first: 

"I'm glad to know you, Miss Hollister. I certainly am! 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 191 

My son has been telling me what you've done for us, and I 
think you're a great little girl ! That was bully work you did, 
and I appreciate it. I was watching you out there in the office. 
You were as cool as a cucumber. You ought to be a detective. 
You found your men all right, did you ? " 

"Yes, sir," said Shirley, much abashed, and feeling the 
return of that foolish trembling in her limbs. "Yes, they 
are both out there, and the short one with the rings and the 
blue necktie is the one that did the talking." 

"Exactly what I thought/ 3 drawled the father, with a 
keen twinkle in his kindly eyes. " I couldn't somehow trust 
that chap from the start. That's why I sent my son out to 
investigate. Well, now, will you just step into my private 
office, Miss Hollister, and take your seat by the typewriter as 
if you were my stenographer? You'll find paper there in the 
drawer, and you can just be writing write anything, you 
choose, so it looks natural when the men come in. When we 
get to talking I'd like you to take down in shorthand all that 
is said by all of us. You're pretty good at that, I judge, 
Sid, will you phone for those officers now ? I think it's about 
time for the curtain to rise." And he led the way into his 
own office. 

Shirley sat down at the typewriter as she had been directed 
and began to write mechanically. Mr. Graham touched the 
bell on his desk, and told the office boy who answered to send 
in Mr. Kremnitz and his companion. 

Shirley was so seated that she could get occasional glimpses 
of the men without being noticed, and she was especially 
interested in the twinkle that shone in the bright blue eyes 
of the elder Graham as he surveyed the men who thought he 
was their dupe. Her heart warmed to him. His kindly, 



192 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

merry face, his hearty, unconventional speech, all showed him 
to be a big, warm-hearted man without a bit of snobbishness 
about him. 

The son came in, and talk began just as if the matter of 
the mine were going on. Mr. Kremnitz produced some papers 
which he evidently expected to be signed at once, and sat 
complacently answering questions ; keen questions Shirley saw 
they were afterwards, and in the light of the revelation she 
had overheard in Mr. Barnard's office Kremnitz perjured him- 
self hopelessly by his answers. Presently the office-boy an- 
nounced the arrival of some one in the next room. Shirley had 
taken down minutely a great deal of valuable information which 
the Grahams had together drawn from their victim. She was 
surprised at the list of wealthy business men who were to have 
been involved in the scheme. 

Then suddenly the quiet scene changed. The elder 
Graham gave a signal to his office-boy, which looked merely 
like waving him away, and the door was flung open, revealing 
four officers of the law, who stepped into the room without 
further word. Graham arose and faced his two startled callers, 
his hand firmly planted on the papers on his desk which he 
"had been supposed to sign. 

"Mr. Kremnitz," he said, and even in the midst of this 
serious business Shirley fancied there was a half-comic drawl 
to his words. He simply could not help letting his sense of 
humor come on top. " Mr. Kremnitz, it is not going to be 
possible for me to sign these papers this morning, as you' 
expected. I do not feel satisfied that all things are as you 
have represented. In fact, I have the best evidence to the 
Contrary. Officer, these are the gentlemen you have come to 
irrest," and he stepped back and waved his hand toward the 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 193 

two conspirators, who sat with startled eyes and blanched faces, 
appalled at the sudden developments where they had thought 
all was moving happily toward their desired end. 

"Arrest! Who? On what charge?" flashed the little 
gaudy Kremnitz, angrily springing to his feet and making a 
dash toward the door, while his companion slid furtively toward 
the other end of the room, evidently hoping to gain young 
Graham's office before he was noticed. But two officers blocked 
their way and the handcuffs clanked in the hands of the other 
two policemen. 

" Why, arrest you, my friend," said Graham senior, as if 
he rather enjoyed the little man's discomfiture. "And for 
trying to perpetrate the biggest swindle that has been at- 
tempted for ten years. I must say for you that you've worked 
hard, and done the trick rather neatly, but you made one 
unfortunate slip that saved all us poor rich men. It seems 
a pity that so much elaborate lying should have brought you 
two nothing but those bracelets you're wearing, they don't 
seem to match well with your other jewels, but that's thfc 
way things go in this world. Now, take them away, officer. 
I've no more time to waste on them this morning ! " and he 
turned and walked over by Shirley's desk, while the curtain 
fell over the brief drama. 

"Do jou know how much money you've saved for us, 
little girl, just plain saved ? I'll tell you. A clean hundred 
thousand ! That's what I was going to put into this affair I 
And as for other men, I expected to influence a lot of other 
men to put in a good deal also. Now, little girl, I don't know 
what you think about it, but I want to shake hands." He 
put out his hand and Shirley laid her own timid one in it, 
smiling and blushing rosily, and saying softly with what 
13 



194 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

excited breath she had, " Oh, I'm so glad I got you in time ! * 
Then she was aware that the man had gone on talking. " I 
don't know what you think about it," he repeated, "but I 
feel that you saved me a clean hundred thousand dollars, and 
I say that a good percentage of that belongs to you as a 
reward of your quickness and keenness/' 

But Shirley drew away her hand and stepped back, her 
face white, her head up, her chin tilted proudly, her eyes 
very dark with excitement and determination. She spoke 
clearly and earnestly. 

" No, Mr. Graham, nothing whatever belongs to me. I 
don't want any reward. I couldn't tlrak of taking it. It is 
utterly out of the question ! " 

" Well, well, well ! " said the elder Graham, sitting down 
on the edge of his desk, watching her in. undisguised r.dmira* 
tion. " Now that's a new kind of girl that won't take what 
she's earned, what rightly belongs to her." 

" Mr. Graham, it was a very little thing I did, anybody 
would have done it, and it was just in the way of simple 
duty. Please don't say anything more about it. I am only 
too glad to have had opportunity to give a little help to people 
who have helped me so much. I feel that I am under deep 
obligation to your son for making it possible for us to live 
in the country, where my mother is getting well." 

" Well, now I shall have to inquire into this business. I 
haven't heard anything about obligations, and for my part I 
feel a big one just now. Perhaps you think it was a very 
little thing you did, but suppose you hadn't done it. Sup- 
pose you'd been too busy, or it hadn't occurred to you to take 
down that conversation until it was too late ; or suppose you 
hadn't had the brains to see what it would mean to us. Why. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 194 

then it would have become a very big thing indeed, and we 
should have been willing, if we had known, to pay a mighty 
big sum to get that evidence. You see a hundred thousand 
dollars isn't exactly a very little thing when you're swindled 
out of it. It's the swindling that hurts more than the loss 
of the money. And you saved us from that. Now, young 
lady, I consider myself under obligation to you, and I intend 
to discharge it somehow. If I can't do it one way I shall 
another, but in the meantime I'm deeply grateful, and please 
accept our thanks. If you are willing to add one more to 
your kindness, I shall be glad if you will make a carbon copy 
of those shorthand notes you took. I may need them for 
evidence. And, by the way, you will probably be called upon 
to testify in court. I'm sorry. That may be unpleasant, but 
I guess it can't be helped, so you see before you get through 
you may not think you did so very small a thing after all. 
Sid, I think you better escort this young lady back to her office 
and explain to Barnard. He's probably been on the verge of 
being buncoed also. You said Kremnitz was waiting for him 
when the conversation took place? I guess you better go 
with Miss Hollister and clear the whole thing up. Say, child, 
have you had your lunch yet? No, of course not. Sidney, 
you take her to get some lunch before she goes back to the 
office. She's had an exciting morning. Now, good-by, little 
girl. I sha'n't forget what you've done for us, and I'm coming 
to see you pretty soon and get things squared up." 

So that was how it came about that in spite of her pro- 
tests Mr. Sidney Graham escorted Shirley Hollister into one 
of the most exclusive tea-rooms of the city, and seated her at 
a little round table set for two, while off at a short distance 
Miss Harriet Hale sat with her mother, eating her lunch and 



196 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

trying in vain to " place " the pretty girl she did not recognize. 

It never occurred to her for a moment that Sidney Gra- 
ham's companion might be a stenographer, for Shirley had 
a knack about her clothes that made her always seem well 
dressed. That hat she wore had seen service for three sum- 
mers, and was now a wholly different shape and color from 
what it had been when it began life. A scrub in hot water 
had removed the dust of toil, some judiciously applied dye 
had settled the matter of color, and a trifling manipulation on 
her head while the hat was still wet had made the shape not 
only exceedingly stylish but becoming. The chic little rosette 
and strictly tailored band which were its sole trimming were 
made from a much-soiled waist-ribbon, washed and stretched 
around a bottle of hot water to dry it, and teased into the latest 
thing in rosettes by Shirley's witching fingers. The simple 
linen dress she wore fitted well and at a distance could not 
have been told from something better, and neither were gloves 
and shoes near enough to be inspected critically, so Miss Hale 
was puzzled, and jealously watched the pretty color come and 
go in Shirley's cheek, and the simple grace of her movements. 

Fortunately, Shirley did not see Miss Hale, and would 
not have recognized her if she had from that one brief 
glimpse she had of her picture on the society page of the 
newspaper. So she ate her delectable lunch, ordered by 
Graham, in terms that she knew not, about dishes that she 
had never seen before. She ate and enjoyed herself so in- 
tensely that it seemed to her she would never be able to make 
the rest of her life measure up to the privileges of the hour. 

For Shirley was a normal girl. She could not help being 
pleased to be doing just for once exactly as other more favored 
girls did constantly. To be lunching at Blanco's with one of 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 197 

the most-sought-after men in the upper set, to be treated 
like a queen, and to be talking beautiful things about travels 
and pictures and books, it was all too beautiful to be real. 
Shirley began to feel that if it didn't get over pretty soon 
and find her back in the office addressing the rest of those 
envelopes she would think she had died in the midst of a 
dream and gone to heaven. 

There was something else too that brought an undertone of 
beauty, which she was not acknowledging even to her inmost 
self. That was the way Graham looked at her^ ac if she were 
some fine beautiful angel dropped down from above that he 
loved to look at; as if he really cared what she thought and 
did; as if there were somehow a soul-harmony between them 
that set them apart this day from others, and put them into 
tune with one another; as if he were glad, rtad to see her 
once more after the absence ! All through her being it thrilled 
like a song that brings tears to the throat and gladness to 
the eyes, and makes one feel strong and pure. That was 
how it seemed when she thought about it afterward. At the 
time she was just living it in wonder and thanksgiving. 

At another time her sordid worldliness and pride might 
have risen and swelled with haughtiness of spirit over the 
number of people who eyed her enviously as they went out 
together; over the many bows and salutations her escort 
received from people of evident consequence, for she had the 
normal human pride somewhere in her nature as we all have. 
But just then her heart was too humble with a new, strange 
happiness to feel it or take it in, and she walked with uncon- 
scious grace beside him, feeling only the joy of being there. 

Later, in the quiet of her chamber, her mother's warning 
came to her, and her cheeks burned with shame in the dark 



198 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

that her heart had dared make so much of a common little 
luncheon, just a mere courtesy after she had been able to do 
a favor. Yet through it all Shirley knew there was some- 
thing fine and true there that belonged just to her, and 
presently she would rise above everything and grasp it and 
keep it hers forever. 

She felt the distinction of her escort anew when she 
entered Barnard and Clegg's in his company, and saw Mr. 
Clegg spring to open the door and to set a chair for his young 
guest, saw ?ven Mr. Barnard rise and greet him with almost 
reverence. And this honor she knew was being paid to money, 
the great demagogue. It was not the man that she admired 
to whom they were paying deference, it was to his money ! She 
smiled to herself. It was the man she admired, not his money. 

All that afternoon she worked with flying fingers, turning 
off the work at marvellous speed, amused when she heard the 
new note of respect in Mr. Barnard's voice as he gave her a 
direction. Mr. Barnard had been greatly impressed with the 
story Graham had told him, and was also deeply grateful on 
his own account that Shirley had acted as she had, for he had 
been on the verge of investing a large trust fund that was in 
his keeping in the new mining operation, and it would have 
meant absolute failure for him. 

When Shirley left the office that night she was almost too 
tired to see which trolley was coming, but some one touched 
her on the arm, and there was Sidney Graham waiting for her 
beside his car, a litcle two-passenger affair that she had 
never seen before and that went like the wind. They took a 
road they had not travelled together before, and Shirley got 
in joyously, her heart all in a tumult of doubts and joys and 
questions. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

WHAT that ride was to Shirley she hardly dared let her- 
self think afterwards. Sitting cozily beside Graham in the 
little racing car, gliding through the better part of town 
where all the tall, imposing houses slept with drawn blinds, 
and dust-covered shutters proclaimed that their owners were 
far away from heat and toil. Out through wide roads and 
green-hedged lanes, where stately mansions set in flowers and 
mimic landscapes loomed far back from road in dignified 
seclusion. Passing now and then a car of people who recog- 
nized Graham and bowed in the same deferential way as they 
had done in the tea-room. And all the time his eyes were upon 
her, admiring, delighting; and his care about her, solicitout 
for her comfort. 

Once he halted the car and pointed off against the sunset, 
where wide gables and battlemented towers stood gray amidst 
a setting of green shrubbery and trees, and velvety lawns 
reached far, to high, trim hedges arched in places for an 
entrance to the beautiful estate. 

" That is my home over there," he said, and watched her 
widening eyes. " I wish I had time to take you over to-night, 
but I know you are tired and ought to get home and rest. 
Another time we'll go around that way/' And her heart 
leaped up as the car went forward again. There was to be 
another time, then ! Ah ! But she must not allow it. Her 
heart was far too foolish already. Yet she would enjoy this 
ride, now she was started. 

They talked about the sunset and a poem he had lately 

199 



200 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

read. He told her bits about his journey, referring to his 
experience at the mines, touching on some amusing incidents, 
sketching some of the queer characters he had met. Once he 
asked her quite abruptly if she thought her mother would be 
disturbed if he had a cement floor put in the basement of the 
barn some time soon. He wanted to have it done before cold 
weather set in, and it would dry better now in the hot days. 
Of course, if it would be in the least disturbing to any of them 
it could wait, but he wanted to store a few things there that 
were being taken out of the office buildings, and he thought 
they would keep drier if there was a cement floor. When she 
aid it would not disturb any one in the least, would on the 
contrary be quite interesting for the children to watch, she was 
jdure, he went easily back to California scenery and never 
referred to it again. 

All through the ride, which was across a country she had 
never seen before, and ended at Glenside approaching from a 
new direction, there was a subtle something between them, a 
sympathy and quick understanding as if they were comrades, 
almost partners in a lot of common interests. Shirley chided 
herself for it every time she looked up and caught his glance, 
and felt the thrill of pleasure in this close companionship. 
Of course it was wholly in her own imagination, and due 
entirely to the nervous strain through which she had passed 
that day, she told herself. Of course, he had nothing in his 
mind but the most ordinary kindly desire to give her a good 
time out of gratitude for what she had done for him. But 
nevertheless it was sweet, and Shirley was loath to surrender 
the joy of it while it lasted, dream though it might be. 

It lasted all the way, even up to the very stop in front of 
the barn when he took her hand to help her out, and hi 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 201 

fingers lingered on hers with just an instant's pressure, send- 
ing a thrill to her heart again, and almost bringing tears to 
her eyes. Foolishness ! She was overwrought. It was a shame 
that human beings were so made that they had to become weak 
like that in a time of pleasant rejoicing. 

The family came forth noisily to meet them, rejoicing 
openly at Graham's return, George and Harley vying with 
each other to shout the news about the garden and the 
chickens and the dove-cote; Carol demanding to know where 
was Elizabeth; and Doris earnestly looking in his face and 
repeating : 

"Ickle budie fy away, Mistah Gwaham. All gone! All 
ickle budies f y away ! " 

Even Mrs. Hollister came smiling to the door to meet 
him, and the young man had a warm word of hearty greeting 
and a hand-shake for each one. It was as if he had just got 
home to a place where he loved to be, and he could not show 
his joy enough. Shirley stood back for the moment watching 
him, admiring the way his hair waved away from his temples, 
thinking how handsome he looked when he smiled, wondering 
that he could so easily fit himself into this group, which must 
in the nature of things be utterly different from his native 
element, rejoicing over the deference he paid to her plain, 
quiet mother, thrilling over the kiss he gave her sweet little 
sister. 

Then Mrs. Hollister did something perfectly unexpected 
and dreadful she invited him to stay to dinner! Shirley 
stood back and gasped. Of course he would decline, but think 
of the temerity of inviting the wealthy and cultured Mr. 
Graham to take dinner in his own barn! 

Oh! But he wasn't going to decline at all. He was 



202 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

accepting as if it were a great pleasure Mrs. Hollister was 
conferring upon him. Sure, he would stay! He had been 
wishing all the way out they would ask him. He had won- 
dered whether he dared invite himself. 

Shirley with her cheeks very red hurried in to see that 
the table-cloth was put on straight, and look after one or two 
little things ; but behold, he followed her out, and, gently in- 
sisting and assisting, literally compelled her to come and lie 
down on the couch while he told the family what she had 
been through that day. Shirley was so happy she almost 
cried right there before them all. It was so wonderful to 
have some one take care of her that way. Of course it was 
only gratitude but she had been taking care of other people 
so long that it completely broke her down to have some one 
take care of her. 

The dinner went much more easily than she had supposed 
it could with those cracked plates, and the fork? from which 
the silver was all worn off. Doris insisted that the guest sit 
next to her and butter her bread for her, and she occasionally 
caressed his coat-sleeve with a sticky little hand, but he didn't 
seem to mind it in the least, and smiled down on her in quite a 
brotherly way, arranging her bib when it got tangled in her 
curls, and seeing that she had plenty of jelly on her bread. 

It was a beautiful dinner. Mother Hollister had known 
what she was about when she selected that particular night to 
invite unexpected company. There was stewed chicken on 
little round biscuits, with plenty of gravy and currant jelly, 
mashed potatoes, green peas, little new beets, and the most 
delicious custard pie for dessert, all rich, velvety yellow with 
a golden-brown top. The guest ate as if he enjoyed it, and 
asked for a second piece of pie, just as if he were one of them. 
It was unbelievable I 



THE ENCHANTED BARN" 203 

He helped clear off the table too, and insisted on Carol's 
giving him a wiping-towel to help with the dishes. It was 
just like a dream. 

The young man tore himself reluctantly away about nine 
o'clock and went home, but before he left he took Shirley's 
'hand and looked into her eyes with another of those deep 
inderstanding glances, and Shirley watched him whirling 
away in the moonlight, and wondered if there ever would be 
another day as beautiful and exciting and wonderful as this 
had been, and whether she could come down to sensible, 
every-day living again by morning. 

Then there was the story of the day to tell all over again 
after he was gone, and put in the little family touches that 
had been left out when the guest was there, and there was: 
" Oh, did you notice how admiring he looked when he told 
mother Shirley had a remarkably keen mind ?" and " He said 
his father thought Shirley was the most unspoiled-looking 
girl he had ever seen ! " and a lot of other things that Shirley 
hadn't heard before. 

Shirley told her mother what the senior Mr. Graham had 
said about giving her a reward, and her mother agreed that 
she had done just right in declining anything for so simple 
a service, but she looked after Shirley with a sigh as she 
went to put Doris to bed, and wondered if for this service 
the poor child was to get a broken heart. It could hardly 
be possible that a girl could be given much attention such as 
Shirley had received that day, from as attractive a young 
man as Graham, without feeling it keenly not to have it con- 
tinue. And of course it was out of the question that it should 
continue. Mrs. Hollister decided that she had done wrong to 
invite the young man to stay to supper, and resolved never 



*04 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

to offend in that way again. It was a wrong to Shirley to put 
him on so intimate a footing in the household, and it could 
not but bring her sadness. He was a most unusual young man 
to have even wanted to stay, but one must not take that for 
more than a passing whim, and Shirley must be protected at 
all hazards. 

"Now," said the elder Graham the next morning, when 
the business of the day was well under way and he had time 
to send for his son to come into his office, " now, I want you to 
tell me all about that little girl, and what you think we ought 
to give her. What did she mean by e obligations 9 yesterday ? 
Have you been doing anything for her, son ? I meant to ask 
you last night, but you came home so late I couldn't sit up." 

And then Sidney Graham told his father the whole story, 
It was different from telling his mother. He knew no barn 
would have the power to prejudice his father. 

"And you say that girl lives in the old barn ! " exclaimed 
the father when the story was finished. "Why, the nervy 
little kid ! And she looks as if she came out of a bandbox ! 
Well, she's a bully little girl and no mistake! Well, now, 
son, what can we do for her? We ought to do something 
pretty nice. You see it wasn't just the money we might 
have lost. That would have been a mere trifle beside getting 
all those other folks balled up in the mess. Why, I'd have 
given every cent I own before I'd have had Fuller and Brown- 
ing and Barnard and Wilts get entangled. I tell you, son, it 
was a great escape ! " 

" Yes, father, and it was a great lesson for me. I'll never 
be buncoed as easily again. But about Miss Hollister, I don't 
know what to say. She's very proud and sensitive. I had an 
awful time doing the little things I just had to do to that barn 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 206 

without her suspecting I was doing it especially for her. 
Father, you ought to go out there and meet the family; then 
you'd understand. They're not ordinary people. Their father 
was a college professor and wrote things. They're cultured 
people." 

" Well, I want to meet them. Why don't we go out there 
and call to-day? I think they must be worth knowing." 

So late that afternoon the father and son rode out to 
Glenside, and when Shirley and George reached home they 
found the car standing in front of their place, and the 
Grahams comfortably seated in the great open doorway, 
enjoying the late afternoon breeze, and seemingly perfectly 
at home in their own barn. 

" I'm not going to swarm here every day, Miss Shirley," 
said the son, rising and coming out to meet her. "You see 
father hadn't heard about the transformation of the old barn, 
and the minute I told him about it he haa to come right out 
and see it." 

" Yes," said the father, smiling contentedly, " I had to 
come and see what you'd done out here. I've played in the 
hay up in that loft many a day in my time, and I love the old 
barn. It's great to see it all fixed up so cozy. But we're going 
home now and let you have your dinner. We just waited to 
say ' Howdy ' to you before we left." 

They stayed a few minutes longer, however, and the senior 
Granam talked with Shirley while he held Doris on his knee 
and stroked her silky hair, and she nestled in his arms quite 
content. 

Then, although young Graham was quite loath to leave so 
soon, they went, for he could not in conscience, expect an 
invitation to dinner two days in succession. 



806 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

They rode away into the sunset, going across country to 
their home without going back to town, and Doris, as she 
stood with the others watching them away, murmured softly : 

" Nice f avver-man ! Nice Gwaham f avver man ! " 

The " nice-Graham-father-man " was at that moment re- 
marking to his son in very decided tones, as he turned to get 
a last glimpse of the old barn : 

"That old barn door ought to come down right away, 
Sid, and a nice big old-fashioned door with glass around the 
sides made to fill the space. That door is an eyesore on the 
place, and they need a piazza. People like those can't live 
with a great door like that to open and shut every day." 

" Yes, father, I've thought of that, but I don't just know 
how to manage it. You see they're not objects of charity. 
I've been thinking about some way to fix up a heating 
arrangement without hurting their feelings, so they could 
stay there all winter. I know they hate to go back to the 
city, and they're only paying ten dollars a month. It's all 
they can afford. What could they get in the city for that ? M 

" Great Scott ! A girl like that living in a house she 
could get for ten dollars, when some of these feather-brained 
baby-dolls we know can't get on with less than three or 
four houses that cost from fifty to a hundred thousand dollars 
apiece ! Say, son, that's a peach of a girl, do you know it ? 
A peach of a girl ! I've been talking with her, and she has a 
very superior mind." 

" I know she has, father," answered the son humbly. 

"I say, Sid, why don't you marry her? That would 
solve the whole problem. Then you could fix up the old 
barn into a regular house for her folks." 

"Well, father, that's just what I've made up my mind 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 207 

to do if shell have me/' said the son with a gleam of triumph 
in his eyes. 

" Bully for you, Sid ! Bully for you ! " and the father gave 
his son's broad shoulder a resounding slap. " Why, Sid, I 
didn't think you had that much sense. Your mother gave 
me to understand that you were philandering around with 
that dolly-faced Harriet Hale, and I couldn't see what you 
saw in her. But if you mean it, son, I'm with you every 
time. That girl's a peach, and you couldn't get a finer if you 
searched the world over." 

"Yes, I'm afraid mother's got her heart set on Harriet 
Hale," said the son dubiously, " but I can't see it that way." 

" H'm ! Your mother likes show," sighed the father com- 
ically, "but she's got a good heart, and she'll bowl over all 
right and make the best of it. You know neither your mother 
nor I were such high and mighties when we were young, and 
we married for love. But now, if you really mean business, I 
don't see why we can't do something right away. When does 
that girl have her vacation? Of course she gets one some- 
time. Why couldn't your mother just invite the whole family 
to occupy the shore cottage for a little while, get up some 
excuse or other, ask 'em to take care of it? You know it's 
lying idle all this summer, and two servants down there 
growing fat with nothing to do. We might ship Elizabeth 
down there and let 'em be company for her. They seem like 
a fine set of children. It would do Elizabeth good to know 
them." 

" Oh, she's crazy about them. She's been out a number of 
times with me, and don't you remember she had Carol out 
to stay with her?" 

" Was that the black-eyed, sensible girl? Well, I declare! 



208 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

I didn't recognize her. She was all dolled up out at oui 
house. I suppose Elizabeth loaned 'em to her, eh? Well, 
I'm glad. She's got sense, too. That's the kind of people I 
like my children to know. Now if that vacation could only 
be arranged to come when your mother and I take that Western 
trip, why, it would be just the thing for Elizabeth, work right 
all around. Now, the thing for you to do is to find out about 
that vacation, and begin to work things. Then you could 
have everything all planned, and rush the work so it would be 
done by the time they came back." 

So the two conspirators plotted, while all unconscious of 
their interest Shirley was trying to get herself in hand and 
not thick how Graham's eyes had looked when he said good- 
night to 



CHAPTEK XIX 

SINCE the pastor from the village had called upon them, 
the young people of the stone barn had been identified with 
the little white church in the valley. Shirley had taken a 
class of boys in the Sunday-school and was playing the organ, 
as George had once predicted. Carol was helping the primary 
teacher, George was assistant librarian and secretary, Harley 
was in Shirley's class, and Doris was one of the primaries. 

Shirley had at once identified herself with the struggling 
little Christian Endeavor society and was putting new life 
into it, with her enthusiasm, her new ideas about getting hold 
of the young people of the community, and her wonderful 
knack of getting the silent ones to te ke part in the meetings. 
She had suggested new committees, had invited the music 
committee to meet her at her home some evening to plan out 
special music, and to cooperate with the social committee in 
planning for music at the socials. She always carried a few 
appropriate clippings or neatly written verses or other quota- 
tions to meeting to slip into the hands of some who had not 
prepared to speak, and she saw to it that her brothers and 
sisters were always ready to say something. Withal, she did 
her part so unobtrusively that none of the old members could 
think she was trying to usurp power or make herself prom- 
inent. She became a quiet power behind the powers, to whom 
the president and all the other officers came for advice, and 
who seemed always ready to help in any work, or to find a 
way out of any difficulty. Christian Endeavor in the little 
White church at once took great strides after the advent of 
14 <i09 



210 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

the Hollisters, and even the idlers on the street corners were 
moved with curiosity to drop into the twilight service of the 
young people and see what went on, and why everybody seemed 
so interested. But the secret of it all, Shirley thought, was 
the little five-minute prayer service that the prayer-meeting 
committee held in the tiny primary room just before the 
regular meeting. Shirley as chairman of the prayer-meeting 
committee had started this little meeting, and she always came 
into the larger room with an exalted look upon her face and a 
feeling of strength in her heart from this brief speaking with 
her Master. 

Shirley was somewhat aghast the next Sabbath to have 
Sidney Graham arrive and ask her to take a ride with him. 

"Why, I was just going to church," she said, half hesi- 
tating, and then smiling bravely up at him ; " besides, I have 
a Sunday-school class. I couldn't very well leave them, you 
know." 

He looked at her for a moment thoughtfully, trying to 
bridge in his thoughts this difference between them. Then 
he said quite humbly, 

" Will you take me with you?" 

"To church?" she asked, and there was a glad ring in 
her voice. Would he really go to church with her ? 

" Yes, and to Sunday School if I may. I haven't been to 
Sunday School in years. I'd like to go if you'll only let me." 

Her cheeks grew rosy. She had a quick mental picture 
of putting him in Deacon Pettigrew's Bible class. 

"I'm afraid there isn't any class you would enjoy," she 
began with a troubled look. "Ifs only a little country 
church, you know. They don't have all the modern system, 
and very few teachers." 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 211 

" I should enjoy going into your class very much if I 
might." 

" Oh, mine are just boys, just little boys like Harley ! " 
said Shirley, aghast. 

" I've been a little boy once, you know I should enjoy it 
very much," said the applicant with satisfaction. 

"Oh, but I couldn't teach you!" There was dismay in 
her voice. 

" Couldn't you, though ? You've taught me more in the 
few months I've known you 'than I've learned in that many 
years from others. Try me. I'll be very good. I'll be a boy 
with the rest of them, and you can just forget I'm there and 
go ahead. I really am serious about it. I want to hear what 
you have to say to them." 

" Oh, I couldn't teach with you there I " exclaimed Shirley, 
putting her hands on her hot cheeks and looking like a fright- 
ened little child. " Indeed I couldn't, really. I'm not much 
of a teacher. I'm only a beginner. 1 shouldn't know how 
to talk before any but children." 

He watched her silently for a minute, his face grave with 
wistfulness. 

"Why do you teach them?" he asked rather irrelevantly. 

" Because why, because I want to help them to live right 
lives ; I want to teach them how to know God." 

"Why?" 

"So that they will be saved. Because it was Christ's 
command that His disciples should give the message. I am 
(Bis disciple, so I have to tell the message." 

" Was there any special stipulation as to whom that mes- 
sage should be given?" asked the young man thoughtfully. 
"Did He say you were just to give it to those boys?" 



213 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

" Why, no ; it was to be given to all the world, every 
creature/' Shirley spoke the words hesitatingly, a dimple 
beginning to show in her cheek as her eyelids drooped over 
her shy eyes. 

"And don't I come in on that?" asked Graham, with a 
twinkle that reminded Shirley of his father. 

Shirley had to laugh shamefacedly then. 

"But I couldn't!" said Shirley. "I'd be so scared I 
couldn't think of a thing to say." 

"You're not afraid of me, Miss Shirley? You wouldn't 
be scared if you thought I really needed to know the message, 
would you ? Well, I really do, as much as any of those kids." 

Shirley looked steadily into his earnest eyes and saw some- 
thing there that steadied her nerve. The laughter died out 
of her own eyes, and a beautiful light of longing came into 
them. 

"All right," she said, with a little lift of her chin as if 
girding up her strength to the task. "You may come, and 
I'll do the best I can, but I'm afraid it will be a poor best. 
I've only a little story to tell them this morning." 

" Please give them just what you had intended. I want 
*lie real thing, just as a boy would get it from you. Will the 
rest of them come in the car with us ? " 

Shirley was very quiet during the ride to church. She 
let the rest do all the talking, and she sat looking off at the 
woods and praying for help, trying to calm the flutter of her 
frightened heart, trying to steady her nerves and brace her- 
self to teach the lesson just as she had intended to teach it. 

She watched him furtively during the opening exercises, 
the untrained singing, the monotonous prayer of an old 
farmer-elder, the dry platitudes of the illiterate superintend- 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 218 

ent ; but he sat respectfully listening, taking it all for what it 
was worth, the best service these people knew how to render 
to their Maker. 

Somehow her heart had gained the strength she needed 
from the prayers she breathed continually, and when the time 
for teaching the lesson arrived she came to her class with 
quietness. 

There was a little awe upon the boys because of the 
stranger in their midst. They did not fling the hymn-books 
down with a noisy thud, nor send the lesson leaves flying like 
winged darts across the room quite so much as they were 
wont to do. They looked askance at Harley, who sat proudly 
by the visitor, supplying him with Bibles, hymn-books, lesson 
leaves, and finding the place for him officiously. But Graham 
eat among the boys without ostentation, and made as little 
of his own presence as possible. He smiled at them now and 
then, put a handful of silver into the collection envelope when 
they would have passed him by, and promised a ride to one 
fellow who ventured to ask him hoarsely if that was his car 
outside the church. 

Shirley had made up her mind to forget as far as she 
could the presence of the visitor in the class, and to this 
end ehe fixed her eyes upon the worst little boy present, 
the boy who got up all the disturbances, and made all the 
noises, and was the most adorable, homely, sturdy young imp 
the Valley Church could produce. He sat straight across from 
her, while Graham was at the side, and she could see in 
Jack's eye that he meant mischief if he could overcome his 
awe of the stranger. So before Jack could possibly get 
started she began her story, and told it straight to Jack, 
never taking her eyes from his face from start to finish, and 



214 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

before she was half-way through she had her little audience 
enthralled. It was a story of the Bible told in modern setting, 
and told straight to the heart of a boy who was the counter- 
part in his own soul of the man whom Christ cured and for- 
gave. What Graham was thinking or looking Shirley did 
not know. She had literally forgotten his existence after the 
first few minutes. She had seen the gleam of interest in the 
eyes of the boy Jack; she knew that her message was going 
home to a convicted young soul, and that he saw himself 
and his own childish sins in the sinful life of the hero of her 
tale. Her whole soul was bent on making him see the Saviour 
who could make that young life over. Not until the story 
was almost finished did any one of the listeners, unless per- 
haps Harley, who was used to such story-recitals, have a sus- 
picion that the story was just a plain, ordinary chapter out 
of the Bible. Then suddenly one of the elder boys broke 
forth: "Aw! Gee! That's just the man in the Bible let 
down through the roof!" There was a slight stir in the 
class at the discovery as it dawned upon them that the teacher 
had " put one over on them " again, but the interest for the 
most part was sustained breathlessly until the superintend- 
ent's bell rang, and the heads drew together in an absorbed 
group around her for the last few sentences, spoken in a lower 
tone because the general hum of teaching in the room had 
?eased. 

Graham's face was very grave and thoughtful as she 
finished and slipped away from them to take her place at the 
little organ. One could see that it was not in the teacher 
alone, but in her message as well, that he was interested. 
The boys all had that subdued, half-ashamed, half-defiant 
look that boys have when they have been caught looking 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 215 

ferious. Each boy frowned and studied his toes, or hunted 
Assiduously in his hymn-book to hide his confusion, and the 
class in various keys lifted up assertive young voices vigor- 
ously in the last hymn. 

Graham sat beside Shirley in the little crowded church 
during the rather monotonous service. The regular pastor, 
who was a good, spiritual man if not a brilliant one, and gave 
his congregation solid, practical sermons, was on his vaca- 
tion, and the pulpit was supplied by a young theologue who 
was so new to his work that his sermon was a rather in- 
volved effort. But so strong was the power of the Sunday- 
school lesson to which he had just listened that Graham felt 
as if he were sitting in some hallowed atmosphere. He did 
not see the red-faced, embarrassed young preacher, nor notice 
his struggles to bring forth his message bravely; he saw only 
the earnest-faced young teacher as she spoke the words of 
life to her boys ; saw the young imp-faces of her boys softened 
a'tid touched by the story she told; saw that she really be- 
lieved and felt every word she spoke; and knew that there 
^as something in it all that he wanted. 

The seat was crowded and the day was warm, but the 
two who looked over the same hymn-book did not notice it. 
The soft, air came in from the open window beside them, 
breathing sweet clover and wild honeysuckle, and the meadow- 
larks sang their songs, and made it seem just like a little bit 
of heaven. 

Shirley's muslin frills trembled against Graham's hand 
as she reached to catch a fluttering leaf of the hymn-book 
that the wind had caught; once her hand brushed the coat- 
sleeve beside her as they turned the page, and she felt the 
soft texture of the fine dark blue goods with a pleasant sense 



216 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

of the beautiful and fitting. It thrilled her to think ha 
was standing thus beside her in her own little church, yielding 
himself to the same worship with her in the little common 
country congregation. It was wonderful, beautiful ! And to 
have come to her! She glanced shyly up at him, so hand- 
some, standing there singing, his hand almost touching hers 
holding the book. He felt her glance and answered it with a 
look and smile, their eyes holding each other for just the 
fraction of a second in which some inner thought was inter- 
changed, some question asked and answered by the invisible* 
flash of heart-beats, a mutual joining in the spiritual service, 
and then half-frightened Shirley dropped her eyes to the 
page and the soft roses stole into her cheeks again. She felt 
as if she had seen something in his eyes and acknowledged 
it in her own, as if she had inadvertently shown him her 
heart in that glance, and that heart of hers was leaping and 
bounding with an uncontrollable joy, while her conscience 
sought by every effort to get it in control. What nonsense, it 
said, what utter folly, to make so much of his coming to 
church with her once! To allow her soul to get into such a 
flutter over a man who had no more idea of noticing her or 
caring for her than he had for a bird on the tree. 

And with all the tumult in her heart she did not even 
see the envious glances of the village maidens who stared 
and stared with all their might at the handsome man who 
came to church in an expensive car and brought the girl who 
lived in a barn! Shirley's social position went up several 
notches, and she never even knew it. In fact, she was be- 
coming a great puzzle to the residents of Glenside. 

It was good to know that for once the shabby collection- 
box of the little church was borne back to the altar laden 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 217 

with a goodly bill, put in with so little ostentation that one 
might have judged it but a penny, looking on, though even a 
penny would have made more noise in the unlined wooden box. 

After the service was over Graham went out with the 
children, while Shirley lingered to play over an accompani- 
ment for a girl who was going to sing at the vesper service 
that afternoon. He piled all the children in the back seat 
of the car, put the boy he had promised a ride in the seat 
beside him, took a spin around the streets, and was back in 
front of the church by the time Shirley came out. Then that 
foolish heart of hers had to leap again at the thought that 
he had saved the front seat for her. The boy descended as 
if he had been caught up into heaven for a brief space, and 
would never forget it the rest of his life. 

There was that same steady look of trust and understand- 
ing in Graham's eyes whenever he looked at her on the way 
home, and once while the children were talking together in 
the back seat he leaned toward her and said in a low tone: 

" I wonder if you will let me take you away for a little 
while this afternoon to a quiet place I know where there is 
a beautiful view, and let us sit and talk. There are some 
things I want to ask you, about what you said this morning. 
I was very much interested in it all, and I'm deeply grateful 
that you let me go. Now, will you go with me ? I'll bring you 
back in time for the Christian Endeavor service, and you see 
'in the meantime I'm inviting myself to dinner. Do you 
think your mother will object?" 

What was there for Shirley to do but accept this alluring 
invitation? She did not believe in going off on pleasure 
excursions on the Sabbath, but this request that she ride to a 
quiet place out-of-doors for a religious talk could not offend 



218 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

her strongest sense of what was right on the Sabbath day. 
And surely, if the Lord had a message for her to bear, she 
must bear it to whomsoever He sent. This, then, was this 
man's interest in her, that she had been able to make him 
think of God. A glad elation filled her heart, something deep 
and true stirred within her and lifted her above the thought of 
self, like a blessing from on high. To be asked to bring light 
to a soul like this one, this was honor indeed. This was an 
answer to her prayer of the morning, that she might fulfil 
God's pleasure with the lesson of the day. The message then 
had reached his soul. It was enough. She would think no more 
of self. 

Yet whenever she looked at him and met that smile again 
she was thrilled with joy in spite of herself. At least there 
was a friendliness here beyond the common acquaintance, a 
something that was true, deep, lasting, even though worlds 
should separate them in the future; a something built on a 
deep understanding, sympathy and common interests. Well, 
so be it. She would rejoice that it had been given her to know 
one man of the world in this beautiful way; and her foolish 
little human heart should understand what a high, true thing 
this was that must not be misunderstood. 

So she reasoned with herself, and watched him during the 
dinner, among the children, out in the yard among the flowers 
and animals, everywhere, he seemed so fine and splendid, so farj 
above all other men that she had ever met. A.nd her mother, 
watching, trembled for her when she saw her happy face. 

" Do you think you ought to go with him, daughter ? " 
she asked with troubled eyes, when they were left alone for a 
moment after dinner. "You know it is the Sabbath, and 
you know his life is very different from ours." 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 219 

" Mother, he wants to talk about the Sunday School lesson 
this morning," said Shirley shyly. " I guess he is troubled, 
perhaps, and wants me to help him. I guess he has never 
thought much about religious things." 

" Well, daughter dear, be careful. Do all you can for him, 
of course, but remember, don't let your heart stray out of 
your keeping. He is very attractive, dear, and very uncon- 
ventional for a wealthy man. I think he is true and wouldn't 
mean to trifle, bat he wouldn't realize." 

" I know ; mother ; don't you be afraid for me ! " said 
Shirley with a lofty look, half of exultation, half of proud 
self -command. 

He took her to a mossy place beside a little stream, where 
the light filtered down through the lacy leaves flecking the 
bank, and braided golden currents in the water; with green 
and purple hazy hills in the distance, and just enough se- 
clusion for a talk without being too far away from the 
world. 

" My little sister says that you people have a ' real ' 
God," he said, when sne was comfortably fixed with cushions 
from the car at her back against a tall tree-trunk. " She 
says you seem to realize His presence I don't know just how 
to say it, but I'd like to know if this is so. I'd like to know 
what makes you different from other girls, and your home 
different from most of the homes I know. I'd like to know 
if I may have it too." 

That was the beginning. 

Shirley, shy as a bird at first, having never spoken on 
such subjects except to children, yet being well versed in the 
Scriptures, and feeling her faith with every atom of her 
being, drew out her little Bible that she had slipped vuta 



220 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

her pocket when they started, and plunged into the great 
subject. 

Never had preacher more earnest listener, or more lovely 
temple in which to preach. And if sometimes the young 
man's thoughts for a few moments strayed from the subject 
to rest his eyes in tenderness upon the lovely face of the 
young teacher, and long to draw her into his arms and claim 
her for his own, he might well have been forgiven. For 
Shirley was very fair, with the light of other worlds in her 
face, her eyes all sparkling with her eagerness, her lips aglow 
with words that seemed to be given her for the occasion. She 
taught him simply, not trying to go into deep arguments, 
but urging the only way she knew, the way of taking Christ's 
promise on its face value, the way of being willing to do Hifl 
will, trusting it to Him to reveal Himself, and the truth of 
the doctrine, and make the believer sure. 

They talked until the sun sunk low, and the calling of 
the wood-birds warned them that the Endeavor hour was 
near. Before they left the place he asked her for the little 
Bible, and she laid it in his hand with joy that he wanted it, 
that she was chosen to give him a gift so precious. 

" It is all marked up," she said apologetically. " I always 
mark the verses I love, or have had some special experience 
with." 

"It will be that much more precious to me," he said 
gently, fingering the leaves reverently, and then he looked up 
and gave her one of those deep looks that seemed to say so 
much to her heart. And all at once she realized that she was 
on earth once more, and that his presence and his look were 
yery precious to her. Her cheeks grew pink with the joy of 
it, and she looked down in confusion and could not 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 

so she rose to her feet. But he, springing at once to help 
her up, kept her hand for just an instant with earnest pressure, 
and said in deeply moved tones: 

" You don't know what you have done for me this after- 
noon, my friend!" He waited with her hand in his an in- 
stant as if he were going to say more, but had decided it 
were better not. The silence was so compelling that she looked 
up into his eyes, meeting his smile, and that said so many 
things her heart went into a tumult again and could not 
quite come to itself all through the Christian Endeavor 
service. 

On the way home from the church he talked a little about 
her vacation: when it came, how long it lasted, what she 
would do with it. Just as they reached home he said, 

"I hope you will pray for me, my friend!" 

There was something wonderful in the way he said that 
word " friend." It thrilled her through and through as she 
stood beside the road and watched him speed away into the 
evening. 

"My friend! I hope you will pray for me, my friend!" 
It sang a glory-song down in her heart as she turned to go in 
with the vivid glory of the sunset on her face. 



CHAPTER XX 

THE cement floor had been down a week and was as hard 
\IE a rock, when one day two or three wagon-loads of things 
arrived with a note from Graham to Mrs. Hollister to say that 
he would be glad if these might be stored in one corner of the 
basement floor, where they would oe out of her way and not 
take up too much room. 

Harley and George went down to look them over that 
evening. 

" He said something about some things being taken from 
the office building," said Harley, kicking a pile of iron pipes 
with his toe. 

" These don't look like any old things that have been 
used," said George thoughtfully. " They look perfectly new." 
Then he studied them a few minutes more from another 
angle, and shut his lips judiciously. He belonged to the 
boy species that has learned to "shut up and saw wood/*' 
whatever that expression may mean. If anything was to 
come out of that pile of iron in the future, he did not mean to 
break confidence with anybody's secrets. He walked away 
whistling and said nothing further about them. 

The next day Mrs. Graham came down upon the Hollisters 
in her limousine, and an exquisite toilet of organdie and 
ribbons. She was attended by Elizabeth, wild with delight 
over getting home again. She begged Mrs. Hollister very 
charmingly and sincerely to take care of Elizabeth for three 
or four weeks, while she and her husband were away, and to 
take her entire family down to the shore and occupy their 
22* 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 

cottage, which had been closed all summer and needed open- 
ing and airing. She said that nothing would please Eliza- 
beth so much as to have them all her guests during September. 
The maids were there, with nothing to do but look after 
them, and would just love to serve them; it really would be 
a great favor to her if she could know that Elizabeth was 
getting a little salt air under such favorable conditions. She 
was so genuine in her request and suggested so earnestly that 
Shirley and George needed the change during their vacation, 
and could just as well come down every night and go up 
every morning for a week or two more after the vacations 
were over, that Mrs. Hollister actually promised to consider 
it and talk it over with Shirley when she came home. Eliza 
beth and Carol nearly went into spasms of joy over the 
thought of all they could do down at the shore together. 

When Shirley came home she found the whole family 
quite upset discussing the matter. Carol had brought out 
all the family wardrobe and was showing how she could wash 
this, and dye that, and turn this skirt upside down, and put 
a piece from the old waist in there to make the lower part 
flare; and Harley was telling how he could get the man 
next door to look after the hens and pigeons, and there was 
nothing needing much attention in the garden now, for the 
corn was about over except the last picking, which wasn't 
ripe yet. 

Mrs. Hollister was saying that they ought really to stay 
at home and look up another place to live during the winter, 
and Carol ^vas pleading that another place would be easier 
found when the weather was cooler anyway, and that Shirley 
was just awfully tired and needed a change. 

Shirley's cheeks grew Dink in spite of the headache whict 



24 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

she had been fighting all day, when she heard of the invita- 
tion, and sat down to think it out. Was this, then, another 
of the kind schemes of her kind friend to make the way easier 
for her? What right had she to take all this? Why was he 
doing it? Why were the rest of the family? Did they 
really need some one to take care of Elizabeth? But of 
course it was a wonderful opportunity, and one that her 
mother at least should not let slip by. And Doris! Think 
of Doris playing in the sand at the seaside ! 

Supper was flung onto the table that night any way it 
happened, for they were all too excited to know what they 
were about. Carol got butter twice and forgot to cut the 
bread, and Harley poured milk into the already filled water- 
pitcher. They were even too excited to eat. 

Graham arrived with Elizabeth early in the evening to 
add his pleading to his mother's, and before he left he had 
about succeeded in getting Mrs. Hollister's promise that she 
would go. 

Shirley's vacation began the first of September, and 
George had asked for his at the same time so that they 
could enjoy it together. Each had two weeks. Graham said 
that the cost of going back and forth to the city for the two 
would be very little. By the next morning they had begun 
to say what they would take along, and to plan what they 
would do with the dog. It was very exciting. There was only 
a week to get ready, and Carol wanted to make bathing-suits 
for everybody. 

Graham came again that night with more suggestions. 
There were plenty of bathing-suits down at the cottage, of 
all sizes and kinds. No need to make bathing-suits. The 
dog, of course, was to go along. He needed the change as 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 223 

much as anybody, and they needed him there. That breed oi 
dog was a great swimmer. He would take care of the children 
when they went in bathing. How would Mrs. Hollister like 
to have one of the old Graham servants come over to sleep 
at the barn and look after things while they were gone ? The 
man had really nothing to do at home while everybody was 
away, as the whole corps of servants would be there, and this 
one would enjoy coming out to the country. He had a brother 
living on a place about a mile away. As for the trip down 
there, Graham would love to take them all in the big touring- 
car with Elizabeth. He had been intending to take her down 
that way, and there was no reason in the world why they 
should not all go along. Th^y would star*. Saturday after- 
noon as soon as Shirley and George were free, and be down 
before bedtime. It would be cool and delightful journeying 
at that hour, and a great deal pleasanter than the train. 

So one by one the obstructions and hindrances were 
removed .from their path, and it was decided that the Hoi- 
listers were to go to the seashore. 

At last the day came. 

Shirley and George went off in the morning shouting 
last directions about things. They were always having to 
go to their work whatever was happening. It was sometimes 
hard on them, particularly this day when everything was so 
delightfully exciting. 

The old Graham servant arrived about three o'clock in 
the afternoon, and proved himself invaluable in doing the 
little last things without being told. Mrs. Hollister had her 
first gleam of an idea of what it must be to have plenty of 
perfectly trained servants about to anticipate one's needs. 
He enterpd the barn as if barns were his native heath, and 
15 



226 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

moved about with the ease and unobtrusiveness that marks 
a perfect servant, but with none of the hauteur and disdain 
that many of those individuals entertain toward all whom 
they consider poor or beneath them in any way. He had a 
kindly face, and seemed to understand just exactly what was 
to be done. Things somehow moved more smoothly after he 
arrived. 

At four o'clock came Graham with the car and a load of 
long linen dust-cloaks and veils. The Hollisters donned them 
and bestowed themselves where they were told. The servant 
stowed away the wraps and suitcases; Star mounted the seat 
beside Harley, ^nd they were ready. 

They turned to look back at the barn as the car started. 
The old servant was having a little trouble with the big door, 
trying to shut it. " That door is a nuisance/' said Graham 
as they swept away from the curb. " It must be fixed. It ia 
no fit door for a barn anyway." Then they curved up around 
Allister Avenue and left the barn far out of sight. 

They were going across country to the Graham home to 
pick up Elizabeth. It was a wonderful experience for them, 
that beautiful ride in the late afternoon ; and when they swept 
into the great gates, and up the broad drive to the Graham 
mansion, and stopped under the porte-cochere, Mrs. Hollister 
was quite overcome with the idea of being beholden to people 
who lived in such grandeur as this. To think she had 
actually invited their son to dine in a barn with her! 

Elizabeth came rushing out eagerly, all ready to start, and 
climbed in beside Carol. Even George, who was usually 
silent when she was about, gave her a grin of welcome. The 
father and mother came out to say good-by, gave them good 
wishes, and declared they were perfectly happy to leave their 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 227 

daughter in such good hands. Then the car curved about 
the great house, among tennis courts, green-houses, garage, 
stable, and what not, and back to the pike again, leaping out 
upon the perfect road as if it were as excited as the children. 

Two more stops to pick up George, who was getting off 
early, and Shirley, who was through at five o'clock, and then 
they threaded their way out of the city, across the ferry, 
through another city, and out into the open country, dotted 
all along the way with clean, pretty little towns. 

They reached a lovely grove at sundown and stopped by 
the way to have supper. Graham got down and made George 
help him get out the big hamper. 

There was a most delectable lunch; sandwiches of delicate 
and unknown condiments, salad as bewildering, soup that had 
been kept hot in a thermos bottle, served in tiny white cups, 
iced tea and ice-cream meringues from another thermos com- 
partment, and plenty of delicious little cakes, olives, nuts, 
bonbons, and fruit. It seemed a wonderful supper to them 
all, eaten out there under the trees, with the birds beginning 
their vesper songs and the stars peeping out slyly. Then 
they packed up their dishes and hurried on their beautiful 
way, a silver thread of a moon coming out to make the scene 
more lovely. 

Doris was almost asleep when at last they began to hear 
the booming of the sea and smell the salt breezo as it swept 
back inland ; but she roused up and opened wide, mysterious 
eyes, peering into the new darkness, and murmuring softly: 
" I yant to see ze osun ! I yant to see the gate bid watter ! " 

Stiff, bewildered, filled with ecstasy, they finally unloaded 
in front of a big white building that looked like a hotel. 
They tried to see into the deep, mysterious darkness across the 



228 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

road, where boomed a great voice that called them, and where 
dashing spray loomed high like a waving phantom hand to 
beckon them now and again, and far-moving lights told of 
ships and a world beyond the one they knew, a wide, limit- 
less thing like eternity, universe, chaos. 

With half -reluctant feet they turned away from the mys 
terious unseen lure and let themselves be led across an un- 
believably wide veranda into the bright light of a hall, where 
everything was clean and shining, and a great fireplace filled 
with friendly flames gave cheer and welcome. The children 
stood bewildered in the brightness while two strange serving- 
maids unfastened their wraps and dust-cloaks and helped them 
take off their hats. Then they all sat around the fire, for 
Graham had come in by this time, and the maids brought 
trays of some delicious drink with little cakes and crackers, 
and tinkling ice, and straws to drink with. Doris almost fell 
asleep again, and was carried up-stairs by Shirley and put to 
bed in a pretty white crib she was too sleepy to look at, while 
Carol, Elizabeth, George, and Harley went with Graham across 
the road to look at the black, yawning cavern they called 
ocean, and to have the shore light-houses pointed out to them 
and named one by one. 

They were all asleep at last, a little before midnight, in 
spite of the excitement over the spacious rooms, and who 
should have which. Think of it ! Thirty rooms in the house, 
and every one as pretty as every other one! What luxury! 
And nobody to occupy them but themselves! Carol could 
hardly get to sleep. She felt as if she had dropped into a 
novel and was living it. 

When Graham came out of his room the next morning 
the salt breeze swept invitingly through the hall and showed 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 

him the big front door of the upper piazza open and some one 
standing in the sunlight, with light, glowing garments, gazing 
at the sea in rapt enjoyment. Coming out softly, he saw that 
it was Shirley dressed in white, with a ribbon of blue at her 
waist and a soft pink color in her cheeks, looking off to sea, 

He stood for a moment to enjoy the picture, and said in 
his heart that sometime, if he got his wish, he would have her 
painted so by some great artist, with just that little simple 
white dress and blue ribbon, her round white arm lifted, her 
small hand shading her eyes, the sunlight burnishing her 
brown hair into gold. He could scarcely refrain from going 
to her and telling her how beautiful she was. But when he 
stepped quietly up beside her only his eyes spoke, and brought 
the color deeper into her cheeks; and so they stood for some 
minutes, looking together and drawing in the wonder of 
God's sea. 

" This is the first time I've ever seen it, you know/' spoke 
Shirley at last, " and I'm so glad it was on Sunday morning. 
It will always make the day seem more holy and the sea more 
wonderful to think about. I like best things to happen on 
Sunday, don't you, because that is the best day of all ? " 

Graham looked at the sparkling sea all azure and pearls, 
realized the Sabbath quiet, and marvelled at the beauty of 
the soul of the girl, even as her feeling about it all seemed to 
snter into and become a part of himself. 

" Yes, I do/' said he. " I never did before, but I do now, 
and always shall/' he added under his breath. 

That was almost as wonderful a Sabbath as the one they 
had spent in the woods a couple of weeks before. They 
walked and talked by the sea, and they went to a little Epis- 
copal chapel, where the windows stood open for the chanting 



230 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

of the waves and the salt of the breeze to come in freely, and 
then they went out and walked by the sea again. Wherever 
they went, whether resting in some of the many big rockers 
on the broad verandas or walking on the hard smooth sand* 
or sitting in some cozy nook by the waves, they felt the same 
deep sympathy, the same conviction that their thoughts were 
one, the same wonderful thrill of the day and each other's 
nearness. 

Somehow in the new environment Shirley forgot for a 
little that this young man was not of her world, that he was 
probably going back soon to the city to enter into a whirl of 
the winter's season in society, that other girls would claim hia 
smiles and attentions, and she would likely be forgotten. She 
lost the sense of it entirely and companioned with him as joy- 
ously as if there had never been anything to separate them. 
Her mother, looking on, sighed, feared, smiled, and sighed again, 

They walked together in the sweet darkness beside the 
waves that evening, and he told her how when he was a little 
boy he wanted to climb up to the stars and find God, but later 
how he thought the stars and God were myths like Santa 
Glaus, and that the stars were only electric lights put up by 
men and lighted from a great switch every night, and when 
they didn't shine somebody had forgotten to light them. He 
told her many things about himself that he nad never told to 
*ny one before, and she opened her shy heart to him, too. 

Then they planned what they would do next week when 
he came back. He told her he must go back to the city in 
the morning to see his father and mother off and attend to a 
few matters of business at the office. It might be two or three 
days before he could return, but after that he was coming 
down to take a little vacation himself if she didn't mind. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 231 

and they would do a lot of delightful things together: row, 
fish, go crabbing, and he would teach her to swim and show 
her all the walks and favorite places where he used to go as a 
boy. Eeluctantly they went in, his fingers lingering about 
hers for just a second at the door, vibrating those mysterious 
heart-strings of hers again, sweeping dearest music from 
them, and frightening her with joy that took her half the 
night to put down. 



CHAPTER XXI 

SIDNEY GRAHAM went back to the city the next morning. 
They all stood out on the piazza to watch the big car glide 
away. Doris stood on the railing of the piazza with Shirley's 
arm securely about her and waved a little fat hand; then 
with a pucker of her lip she demanded: 

"Fy does mine Mister Dwaham do way? I don't yanl 
him to do way. I yant him to stay wif me aw-ways, don't 
oo, Sirley?" 

Shirley with glowing cheeks turned from watching the 
retreating car and put her little sister down on the floor 
suddenly. 

" Run get your hat, Doris, and we'll take a walk on the 
eand ! " she said, smiling alluringly at the child, till the 
baby forgot her grievance and beamed out with answering 
emiles. 

That was a wonderful day. 

They all took a walk on the sand first, George pushing his 
mother in a big wheeled chair belonging to the cottage. 
Elizabeth was guide and pointed out all the beauties of the 
place, telling eager bits of reminiscence from her childhood 
memories to which even George listened attentively. From 
having been only tolerant of her George had now come to 
look upon Elizabeth as "a good scout." 

When Mrs. Hollister grew tired they took her back to 
the cottage and established her in a big chair with p hook. 
Then they all rushed off to the bath-houses and presently 
232 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 233 

emerged in bathing-suits, Doris looking like a little sprite in 
her scarlet flannel scrap of a suit, her bright hair streaming, 
and her beautiful baby arms and legs flashing i^ite like a 
cherub's in the sunlight. 

They came back from their dip in the wave,., hungry and 
eager, to the wonderful dinner that was served so exquisitely 
in the great cool dining-room, from the windows of which 
they could watch the lazy ships sailing in the offing. 

Doris fell asleep over her dessert and was tumbled into 
the hammock to finish her nap. Carol and Elizabeth and the 
boys started off crabbing, and Shirley settled herself in another 
hammock with a pile of rew magazines about her and pre- 
pared to enjoy a whole afternoon of laziness. It was BO 
wonderful to lie still, at leisure and unhurried, with all those 
lovely magazines to read, and nothing to disturb her. She 
leaned her head back and closed her eyes for a minute just to 
listen to the sea, and realize how good it was to be here. 
Back in her mind there was a pleasant consciousness of the 
beautiful yesterday, and the beautiful to-morrows that might 
come when Sidney Graham returned, but she would not let 
her heart dwell upon them; that would be humoring herself 
too much, and perhaps give her a false idea of things. She 
simply would not let this wonderful holiday be spoiled by the 
thought that it would have to end some day and that she 
would be back at the old routine of care and worry once more. 

She was roused from her reverie by the step of the post- 
man bringing a single letter, for her ! 

It was addressed in an unknown hand and was in a fat 
long envelope. Wonderingly she opened it and found inside 
a bank book and blank check book with a little note on whicb 
was written: 



234 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

DEAB LITTLE GIBL: 

This is just a trifle of that present we were talking about the 
other day that belongs to you. It isn't all by any means, but we'll 
pee to the rest later. Spend this on chocolates or chewing-gum or 
frills or whatever you like and have a good time down at the shore. 
You're a bully little girl and deserve everything nice that's going. 
Don't be too serious, Miss Shirley. Play a little more. 
Your elderly friend, 

WALTER K. GRAHAM. 

In the bank book was an entry of five thousand dollars, 
on check account. Shirley held her breath and stared at the 
figures with wide eyes, then slipped away and locked herself 
in the big white room that was hers. Kneeling down by the 
bed she cried and prayed and smiled all in one, and thanked 
the Lord for making people so kind to her. After that she 
went to find her mother. 

Mrs. Hollister was sitting on the wide upper piazza in a 
steamer chair looking off to sea and drawing in new life at 
every breath. Her book was open on her lap, but she had 
forgotten to read in the joy of all that was about her. To 
tell the truth she was wondering if the dear father who was 
gone from them knew of their happy estate, and thinking 
how glad he would be for them if he did. 

She read the letter twice before she looked at the bank 
book with its astonishing figures, and heard again Shirley's 
tale of the happening in the office the morning of the arrest. 
Then she read the letter once more. 

" I'm not just sure, daughter/' she said at last with a 
smile, " what we ought to do about this. Are you? " 

" No," said Shirley, smiling ; " I suppose I'll give it beck, 
/but wasn't it wonderful of him to do it? Isn't it grand that 
there are such men in the world ? ? * 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 235 

"It certainly is, dear, and I'm glad my little girl was 
able to do something that was of assistance to him ; and that 
she has won her way into his good graces so simply and 
sweetly. But Fm not so sure what you ought to do. Hadn't 
we better pray about it a bit before you decide? How soon 
ought you to write to him ? It's too late to reach him before 
he leaves for California, isn't it ? " 

"Oh, yes, he's just about starting now," said the girl. 
* e Don't you suppose he planned it so that I couldn't answer 
right away? I don't know his address. I can't do a thing 
till I find out where to write. I wouldn't like to send it to 
the office because they would probably think it was business 
and his secretary might open it." 

" Of course. Then we'll just pray about it, shall we, dear ? 
I'm not just sure in my mind whether it's a well-meant bit 
of charity that we ought to hand back with sincere thanks, 
or whether it's God's way of rewarding my little girl for her 
faithfulness and quickness of action. Our Father knows we 
have been and still are in a hard place. He knows that 
we have need of 'all these things' that money has to buy. 
You really did a good thing and saved Mr. Graham from 
great loss, you know, and perhaps he is the kind of man who 
would feel a great deal happier if he shared a little of it 
with you, was able to make some return for what you did 
for him. However, five thousand dollars is a great deal of 
money for a brief service. What do you think, dear?" 

" I don't know, mother dear. I'm all muddled just as 
you say, but I guess it will come right if we pray about it. 
Anyhow, I'm going to be happy over his thinking of me, 
whether I keep it or not." 

Shirley went thoughtfully back to her hammock and her 



336 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

magazines, a smile on her lips, a dream in her eyes. She 
found herself wondering whether Sidney Graham knew about 
this money and what he would wish her to do about it. Then 
suddenly she cast the whole question from her and plunged 
into her magazine, wondering why it was that almost any 
question that came into her mind promptly got around and 
entangled itself with Mr. Sidney Graham. What did he 
have to do with it, anyway? 

The magazine story was very interesting and Shirley soon 
forgot everything else in the pleasure of surrendering herself 
io the printed page. An hour went by, another passed, and 
Shirley was still oblivious to all about her. Suddenly she 
became aware of a boy on a bicycle, riding almost up to the 
very steps, and whistling vigorously. 

" Miss Shirley Hollister here ?" he demanded as he alighted 
on one foot on the lower step, the other foot poised for flight 
as soon as his errand should have been performed. 

" Why, yes/' said Shirley, startled, struggling to her feet 
and letting a shower of magazines fall all about her. 

" Long distance wants yer," he announced, looking her over 
aj^athetically. " Mr. Barnard, of Philadelphia, wants to talk 
to yer ! " and with the final word chanted nasally he alighted 
upon his obedient steed and spun away down the walk again. 

"But, wait! Where shall I go? Where is the telephone ?" 

< Pay station ! " shouted the impervious child, turning his 
head over his shoulder, " Drug store ! Two blocks from the 
post office!" 

Without waiting to go upstairs Shirley, whose trailing 
had been to answer the telephone at once, caught up Eliza- 
beth's parasol that lay on a settee by the door, rumpled her 
fingers through her hair by way of toilet and hurried down 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 237 

the steps in the direction the boy had disappeared, wonder- 
ing what in the world Mr. Barnard could want of her ? Was 
he going to call her back from her vacation ? Was this per- 
haps the only day she would have, this and yesterday ? There 
would always be yesterday! With a sigh she looked wist- 
fully at the sea. If she had only known a summons was to 
come so soon she would not have wasted a second on maga- 
zines. She would have sat and gazed all the afternoon at 
the sea. If Mr. Barnard wanted her, of course she would 
have to go. Business was business and she couldn't afford 
to lose her job even with that fairy dream of five thousand 
to her credit in the bank. She knew, of course, she meant to 
give that back. It was hers for the day, but it could not 
become tangible. It was beautiful, but it was right that it 
must go back, and if her employer felt he must cut short her 
vacation why of course she must acquiesce and just be glad 
she had had this much. Perhaps it was just as well, any- 
way, for if Sidney Graham came down and spent a few days 
there was no knowing what foolish notions her heart would 
take, jumping and careening the way it had been doing lately 
when he just looked at her. Yes, she would go back if 
Mr. Barnard wanted her. It was the best thing she could do. 
Though perhaps he would only be calling her to ask where 
she had left something for which they were searching. That 
stupid Ashton girl who took her place might not have 
remembered all her directions. 

Breathless, with possibilities crowding upon her mind, 
she hurried into the drug store and sought the telephone 
booth. It seemed ages before the connection was made and 
she heard Mr. Barnard's dry familiar tones over the phone: 

" That you, Miss Hollister? This is Mr. Barnard. I'm 



238 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

sorry to disturb you right in the midst of your holiday, but a 
matter has come up that is rather serious and I'm wondering 
if you could help us out for a day or two. If you would we'd 
be glad to give you fifty dollars for the extra time, and let 
you extend your vacation to a month instead of two weeks. 
Do you think you could spare a day or two to help us right 
away?" 

" Oh ! Why, yes, of course ! " faltered Shirley, her eyes 
dancing at the thought of the extra vacation and money. 

" Thank you ! " I was sure you would," said Mr. Barnard, 
with relief in his voice. You see we have got that Govern- 
ment contract. The news just came in the afternoon mail. 
It's rather particular business because it has to do with 
matters that the Government wishes to keep secret. I am 
to go down to-morrow morning to Washington to receive in- 
structions, and I have permission to bring a trusted private 
secretary with me. Now you know, of course, that I couldn't 
take Miss Ashton. She wouldn't be able to do what I want 
done even if she were one I could trust not to say a word 
about the matter. I would take Jim Thorpe, but his father 
has just died and I can't very well ask him to leave. Neither 
can I delay longer than to-morrow. Now the question is, 
would you be willing to go to Washington in the morning? 
I have looked up the trains and I find you can leave the 
shore at 8.10 and meet me in Baltimore at ten o'clock. I will 
be waiting for you at the train gate, but in case we miss each 
other wait in the station, close to the telephone booths, till 
I find you. We will take the next train for Washington and 
be there a little before noon. If all goes well we ought to 
be through our business in plenty of time to make a four 
o'clock train home. Of course there may be delays, and it i* 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 239 

quite possible you might have to remain in Washington over 
night, though I hardly think so. But in case you do I will 
see that you are safe and comfortable in a quiet hotel neai- 
the station where my wife's sister is staying this summer. 

Of course your expenses will all be paid. I will telegraph 
and have a mileage book put at your disposal that you can 
call for right there in your station in the morning. Are you 
willing to undertake this for us? I assure you we shall not 
forget the service." 

When Shirley finally hung up the receiver and looked 
about the little country drug store in wonder at herself the 
very bottles on the shelves seemed to be whirling and dancing 
about before her eyes. What strange exciting things were 
happening to her all in such breathless haste ! Only one day 
at the shore and a piece of another, and here she was with a 
trip to Washington on her hands ! It certainly was bewilder- 
ing to have things come in such rapid succession. She wished 
it had come at another time, and not just now when she 
had not yet got used to the great sea and the wonder of the 
beautiful place where they were staying. She did not want to 
be interrupted just yet. It would not be quite the same when 
she got back to it she was afraid. But of course she could 
not refuse. It never entered her head to refuse. She knew 
enough about the office to realize that Mr. Barnard must have 
her. Jimmie Thorpe would have been the one to go if he were 
available, because he was a man and had been with Barnard 
and Clegg for ten years and knew all their most confidential 
business, but of course Jimmie could not go with his father 
lying dead and his mother and invalid sister needing him ; and 
there was no one else but herself. 

She thought it all out on the way back to the cottage^ 



240 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

with a little pang at the thought of losing the next day and 
of having perhaps to stay over in Washington a day and maybe 
miss the arrival of Sidney Graham, if he should come in a 
day or two, as he had promised. He might even come and go 
back again before she was able to return, and perhaps he 
would think her ungrateful to leave when he had been so kind 
to plan all this lovely vacation for her pleasure. Then she 
brought herself up smartly and told herself decidedly that it 
was nothing to him whether she was there or not, and it 
certainly had no right to be anything to her. It was a good 
thing she was going, and would probably be a good thing for 
all concerned if she stayed until he went back to the city 
again. 

With this firm determination she hurried up to the veranda 
where her mother sat with Doris, and told her story. 

Mrs. Hollister looked troubled. 

"I'm sorry you gave him an answer, Shirley, without 
waiting to talk it over with me. I don't believe I like the 
idea of your going to a strange city, all alone that way. Of 
course Mr. Barnard will look after you in a way, but still he's 
a good deal of a stranger. I do wish he had let you alone 
for your vacation. It seems as if he might have found some- 
body else to go. I wish Mr. Graham was here. I shouldn't 
wonder if he would suggest some way out of it for you." 

But Shirley stiffened into dignity at once. 

"Keally, mother dear, I'm sure I don't see what Mr, 
Graham would have to say about it if he were here. I 
shouldn't ask his advice. You see, mother, realty, there isn't 
anybody else that could do this but Jimmie Thorpe, and he's 
out of the question. It would be unthinkable that I should 
refuse in this emergency. And you know Mr. Barnard haft 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 241 

been very kind. Besides, think of the ducky vacation I'll 
have afterward, a whole month ! And all that extra money ! 
That shall go to the rent of a bet jer house for winter ! Think 
of it! Don't you worry, mother dear! There isn't a thing 
in the world could happen to me. I'll be the very most- 
discreetest person you ever heard of. Fll even glance shyly 
at the White House and Capitol ! Come, lef s go up and get 
dolled up for supper ! Won't the children be surprised when 
they hear I'm really to go to Washington ! I'm so excited 
I don't know what to do ! " 

Mrs. Hollister said no more, and entered pleasantly into 
the merry talk at the table, telling Shirley what she must be 
sure to see at the nation's capital. But the next morning 
just as Shirley was about to leave for the station, escorted by 
all the children, Mrs. Hollister came with a package of 
addressed postal cards which she had made George get for 
her the night before, and put them in Shirley's bag. 

"Just drop us a line as you go along, dear," she said. 
" I'll feel happier about it to be hearing from you. Mail one 
whenever you have a chance." 

Shirley laughed as she looked at the fat package. 

"All those, mother dear? You must expect I am going 
to stay a month! You know I won't have much time for 
writing, and I fully expect to be back to-night or to-morrow 
at the latest." 

"Well, that's all right," said her mother. "You can 
use them another time, then; but you can just put a line on 
one whenever it is convenient. I shall enjoy getting them 
even after you get back. You know this is your first journey 
out into the world alone." 

Shirley stooped to kiss the little mother, 
16 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 

"All right, dear ! I'll write you a serial story. Each ona 
continued in our next. Good-by! Don't take too long a 
walk to-day. I want you rested to hear all I'll have to tell 
when I get back to-night ! " 

Shirley wrote the first postal card as soon as she was 
settled in the train, describing the other occupants of the car, 
and making a vivid picture of the landscape that was slipping 
by her windows. She wrote the second in the Baltimore 
station, after she had met Mr. Barnard, while he went to get 
seats in the parlor car, and she mailed them both at Baltimore. 

The third was written as they neared Washington, with 
the dim vision of the great monument dawning on her won- 
dering sight in the distance. Her last sentence gave her first 
impression of the nation's capital. 

They had eaten lunch in the dining car, a wonderful 
experience to the girl, and she promised herself another 
postal devoted to that, but there was no time to write more 
after they reached Washington. She was put into a taxi and 
whirled away to an office where her work began. She caught 
glimpses of great buildings on the way, and gazed with awe 
at the dome of the Capitol building. Mr. Barnard was kind 
and pointed out this and that, but it was plain his mind was 
on the coming interview. When Shirley sat at last in a quiet 
corner of a big dark office, her pen poised, her note-book 
ready for work, and looked at the serious faces of the men in 
the room, she felt as if she had been rushed through a 
treasure vault of glorious jewels and thrust into the darkness 
of a tomb. But presently the talk about her interested her. 
Things were being said about the vital interests of the 
country, scraps of sentences that reminded her of ihe trend 
*vf talk in the daily papers, and the headings o* front columns. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 243 

[She looked about her with interest and noted the familiarity 
with which these men quoted the words of those high up in 
authority in the government. With awe she began her work, 
taking down whatever Mr. Barnard dictated, her fingers fly- 
ing over the tiny pages of the note-book, in small neat char- 
acters, keeping pace with the voices going on abeut her. The 
detail work she was setting down was not of especial interest 
to her, save that it was concerned with Government work, 
for its phraseology was familiar and a part of her daily 
routine office work at home ; but she set every sense on the alert 
to get the tiniest detail and not to make the smallest mistake, 
understanding from the voices of the men about her that 
it was of vital interest to the country that this order should 
be filled quickly and accurately. As she capped her fountain 
pen, and slipped the rubber band on her note-book when it 
was over, she heard one of the men just behind her say in a 
low tone to Mr. Barnard: 

" You're sure of your secretary of course ? I just want to 
give you the tip that this thing is being very closely watched. 
We have reason to believe there's some spying planned. Keep 
your notes carefully and don't let too many in on this. We 
know pretty well what's going on, but it's not desirable just 
now to make any arrests until we can watch a little longer 
and round up the whole party. So keep your eyes peeled, and 
don't talk." 

" Oh, certainly ! I quite understand/' said Mr. Barnard, 
" and I have a most discreet secretary," and he glanced with 
a significant smile toward Shirley as she rose. 

" Of course ! " said the other. " She looks it," and he 
bowed deferentially to Shirley as she passed. 

She did not think of it at the time, but afterwards she 



44 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

recalled how in acknowledging his courtesy she had stepped 
back a little and almost stumbled over a page, a boy about 
George's age, who had been standing withdrawn into the 
shadow of the deep window. She remembered he had a keen 
intelligent look, and had apologized and vanished immediately. 
A moment later it seemed to be the same boy in blue clothes 
and gilt buttons who held the outer door open for them to 
pass out or was this a taller one ? She glanced again at his 
side face with a lingering thought of George as she paused 
to fasten her glove and slip her note-book into her hand-bag. 

" I think I will put you into the taxi and let you go right 
back to the station while I attend *o another errand over at 
the War Department. It won't take me long. We can easily 
catch that four-o'clock train back. I suppose you are anxious 
to get back to-night ? " 

" Oh, yes," said Shirley earnestly, " I must, if possible. 
Mother isn't well and she worries so easily." 

" Well, I don't know why we can't. Then perhaps you can 
come up to town to-morrow and type those notes for us. By 
the way, I guess it would be better for me to take them 
and lock them in the safe to-night. No, don't stop to get 
them out now" as Shirley began to unfasten her bag and 
get the note-book out " We haven't much time if we want to 
catch that train. Just look after them carefully and I'll get 
them when we are on the train." 

He helped her into the taxi, gave the order, " To th* 
station," and touching his hat, went rapidly over to the Wai 
Department Building. No one saw a boy with a blue cap and 
brass buttons steal forth on a bicycle from the court just 
below the office, and circling about the asphalt uncertainly 
for a moment, shoot off across the park. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 245 

Shirley sat up very straight and kept her eyes about her. 
She was glad they were taking another way to the station so 
that she might see more. When she got there she would 
write another postal and perhaps it would go on the same 
train with her. 

It was all too short, that ride up Pennsylvania Avenue and 
around by the Capitol. Shirley gathered up ^er bag and 
prepared to get out reluctantly. She wished she might have 
just one more hour to go about, but of course that would be 
impossible if she wished to reach home to-night. 

But before the driver of the car could get down and open 
the door for her to get out a boy with a bicycle slid up to 
the curb and touching his gilt-buttoned cap respectfully said : 

" Excuse me, Miss, but Mr. Barnard sent me after you. 
He says there's been some mistake and you'll have to come 
back and get it corrected." 

" Oh ! " said Shirley, too surprised to think for a minute. 
" Oh ! Then please hurry, for Mr. Barnard wants to get back 
in time to get that four-o'clock train." 

The driver frowned, but the boy stepped up and handed 
him something, saying: 

"That's all right, Joe, he sent you this." The driver's 
face cleared and he started his machine again. The boy 
vanished into the throng. It was another of Shirley's after- 
memories that she had caught a glimpse of a scrap of paper 
along with the money the boy had handed the driver, and 
that he had stuffed it in his pocket after looking intently at 
it; but at the time she thought nothing of it. She was only 
glad that they were skimming along rapidly. 






CHAPTER XXII 

SHIRLEY'S sense of direction had always been keen. Even 
as a child she could tell her way home when others were lost. 
It was some minutes, however, before she suddenly became 
aware tha 4 -. the Car was being driven in an entirely different 
direction from the place she had just left Mr. Barnard. For 
a moment she looked around puzzled, thinking the man was 
merely taking another way around, but a glance back where 
the white dome of the Capitol loomed, palace-like, above the 
city, made her sure that something was wrong. She looked 
j,t the buildings they were passing, at the names of the streets 
F Street they had not been on that before! These stores 
tnd tall buildings were all new to her eyes. Down there at 
the end of the vista was a great building all columns. Was 
that the Treasury and were they merely seeing it from 
another angle? It was all very confusing, but the time was 
short, why had the man not taken the shorter way ? 

She looked at her small wrist watch anxiously and watched 
eagerly for the end of the street. But before the great build- 
ing was reached the car suddenly curved around a corner to 
the right, one block, a turn to the left, another turn, 
a confusion of new names and streets ! New York Avenue I 
Connecticut Avenue! Thomas Circle! The names spun by 
BO fast she could read but few of them, and those she saw she 
wanted to remember that she might weave them into her next 
postal. She opened her bag, fumbJed for her little silver 
pencil in the pocket of her coat and scribbled down the names 
he could read as she passed, on the back of the bundle o" 
249 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 

postal cards, and without looking at her writing. She did 
not wish to miss a single sight. Here were rows of homes, 
pleasant and palatial, some of them even cozy The broad 
avenues were enchanting, the park spaces, the lavish scat- 
tering of noble statues. But the time was hastening by and 
they were going farther and farther from the station and 
from the direction of the offices where she had been. She 
twisted her neck once more and the Capitol dome loomed soft 
and blended in the distance. A thought of alarm leaped into 
her mind. She baned forward and spoke to the driver: 

" You understood, didn't you, that I am to return to the 
office where you took me with the gentleman ? " 

The man nodded. 

"All right, lady. Yes, lady ! " And the car rushed on, 
leaping out upon the beautiful way and disclosing new beauties 
ahead. For a few minutes more Shirley was distracted from 
her anxiety in wondering whether the great buildings on her 
right belonged to any of the embassies or not. And then as 
the car swerved aiid plunged into another street and darted 
into a less thickly populated district, with trees and vacant 
lots almost like the country, alarm arose once more and she 
looked wildly back and tried to see the sign* but they were 
going faster still now upon a wide empty road past stretches 
of park, with winding drives and charming views, and a great 
stone bridge to the right, arching over a deep ravine below, a 
railroad crossing it. There were deer parks fenced with high 
wire, and filled with the pretty creatures. Everything went by so 
fast that Shirley hardly realized that something really must be 
wrong before she seemed to be in the midst of a strange world 
aloof. 

" I am sure you have made a mistake ! " The ffirl's clear 



248 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

voice cut through the driving wind as they rushed along. u 1 
must go back right away to that office from which you brought 
me. I must ^o at once or I shall be too late for my train ! 
The gentleman will be very angry ! " She spoke in the tone 
that always brought instant obedience from the employees 
around the office building at home. 

But the driver was stolid. He scarcely stirred in his seat 
to turn toward her. His thick voice was brought back to her 
on the breeze: 

"No, lady, it's all right, lady! I hal my orders, lady! 
You needn't to worry. I get you there plenty time." 

A wild fear seized Shirley, and her heart lifted itself as 
was its habit, to God. " Oh, my Father ! Take care of me I 
Help me ! Show me what to do ! " she cried. 

Thoughts rushed through her brain as fast as the car 
rushed over the ground. What was she up against? Was 
this man crazy or bad? Was he perhaps trying to kidnap 
her? What for? She shuddered to look the thought in the 
face. Or was it the notes ? She remembered the men in the 
office and what they had said about keeping still and " spying- 
enemies." But nerhaps she was mistaken. Maybe this man 
was only stupia, and it would all come out right in a few 
minutes. But no, she must not wait for anything like that. 
She must take no chance. The notes were in her keeping. 
She must put them where they would be safe. No telling how 
soon she would be overpowered and searched if that was what 
they were after. She must hide them, and she must think of 
some way to send word to Mr. Barnard before it was too late. 
No telling what moment they would turn from the main road 
and she be hidden far from human habitation. She must 
work fast. What could she do ? Scream to the next passer-by ? 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 249 

No, for the car was going too fast for that to do any good, and 
the nouses up this way seemed all to be isolated, and few 
people about. There were houses on ahead beyond the park. 
She must have something ready to throw out when they came 
to them. " Oh God ! Help me think what to do ! " she prayed 
again, and then looking down at her bag she saw the postal 
cards. Just the thing! Quickly she scribbled, still holding 
her hand within the bag so that her movements were not 
noticeable : 

" Help ! Quick ! Being carried off ! Auto I Connecticut 
Ave. ! Park. Deer. Stone bridge. Phone Mr. Clegg. Don't 
tell mother! Shirley/' 

She turned the card over, drew a line through her mother'i 
name and wrote Carol's in its place. Stealthily she slipped 
the card up her sleeve, dropped her hand carelessly over the 
side of the car for a moment, let the card flutter from her 
fingers, and wrote another. 

She had written three cards and dropped them in front of 
houses before it suddenly occurred to her that even if these 
cards should be picked up and mailed it would be sometime 
before they reached their destination and far too late for help 
to reach her in time. Her heart suddenly went down in a 
swooning sickness and her breath almost went from her. Her 
head was reeling, and all the time she was trying to tell her- 
self that she was exaggerating this thing, that probably the 
man would slow up or something and it would all be ex- 
plained. Yes, he was slowing up, but for what? It was in 
another lonely spot, and out from the bushes there appeared, 
as if by magic, another man, a queer-looking man with a 
heavy mustache that looked as if it didL't belong to him. He 
stood alertly waiting for the car and sprang into the front seat 



350 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

without waiting for it to stop, or even glancing back at her, 
and the car shot forward again with great leaps. 

Shirley dropped out the two cards together that she had 
just written and leaned forward, touching the newcomer on 
the arm. 

" Won't you please make this driver understand that he is 
taking me to the wrong place ? " she said with a pleasant 
smile. " I must get back to an office two or three blocks away 
from the Treasury Building somewhere. I must turn back 
at once or I shall miss my appointment and be late for my 
train. It is quite important. Tell him, please, I will pay 
him well if he will get me back at once." 

The stranger turned with an oily smile. 

"That's all right, Miss. He isn't making any mistake. 
We're taking you right to Secretary Baker's country home. 

He sent for your man, Mr. What's his name ? I forget. 

Barnard? Oh, yes. He sent for Mr. Barnard to come out 
there, sent his private car down for him ; and Mr. Barnard, hs 
left orders we should go after you and bring you along. It's 
something they want to change in those notes you was taking. 
There was a mistake, and the Secretary he wanted to look 
after the matter himself/' 

Shirley sat back with a sudden feeling of weakness and a 
fear she might faint, although she had never done such a 
tiling in her life. She was not deceived for an instant now, 
although she saw at once that she must not let the man know 
it. The idea that Secretary Baker would pause in the midst 
of his multiplicity of duties to look into the details of a small 
article of manufacture was ridiculous! It was equally im- 
possible that Mr. Barnard would have sent strangers after her 
and let her be carried off in this queer way. He had been most 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 251 

particular that she should be looked after carefully. She was 
horribly to blame that she had allowed herself to be carried 
back at all until Mr. Barnard himself appeared ; and yet, was 
she? That surely had been the page from the office who 
came with the message? Well, never mind, she was in for 
it now, and she must do her best while there was any chance 
to do anything. She must drop all those postals somehow, 
and she must hide those notes somewhere, and perhaps write 
some others, fake ones. What should she do first ? 

"Father, help me! Show me! Oh, don't let me lose 
the notes ! Please take care of me ! " Again and again her 
heart prayed as her hand worked stealthily in her bag, while 
she tried to put a pleasant smile upon her face and pretend 
she was still deceived, leaning forward and speaking to the 
strange man once more: 

"Is Secretary Baker's home much farther from here?'* 
she asked, feeling her lips draw stiffly in the frozen smile she 
forced. " Will it take long ? " 

" 'Bout ten minutes ! " the man answered graciously, with 
a peculiar look toward the driver. " Nice view 'round here ! " 
he added affably with a leering look of admiration toward her. 

Shirley's heart stood still with new fear, but she managed 
to make her white lips smile again and murmur, "Charming !" 

Then she leaned back again and fussed around in her bag, 
ostentatiously bringing out a clean handkerchief, though she 
really had been detaching the pages which contained the notes 
from her loose-leaf note-book. There were not many of them, 
for she always wrote closely in small characters. But where 
should she hide them? Pull the lining away from the edge 
of her bag and slip them Inside? No, for the bag would be 
the first place they would likely search, and she could not f 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 

poke the lining back smoothly so it would not show. If she 
should try to drop the tiny pages down her neck inside her 
blouse, the men would very likely see her. Dared she try to 
slip the leaves down under the linen robe that lay over her 
lap and put them inside her shoe? She was wearing plain 
little black pumps, and the pages would easily go in the soles, 
three or four in each. Once in they would be well hidden, 
and they would not rattle and give notice of their presence; 
but oh, what a terrible risk if anything should happen to 
knock off her shoe, or if they should try to search her ! Still 
she must take some risk and this was the safest risk at hand. 
She must try it and then write out some fake notes, giving 
false numbers and sizes, and other phraseology. Or stay* 
Wasn't there already something written in that book that 
would answer? Some specifications she had written down 
for the Tillman-Brooks Company. Yes, she was sure. It 
wasn't at all for the same articles, nor the same measurements, 
but only an expert would know that. She leaned down quite 
naturally to pick up her handkerchief and deftly managed tc 
get five small leaves slipped into her right shoe. It occurred 
to her that she must keep her keepers deceived, so she asked 
once more in gracious tones : 

" Would it trouble you any to mail a card for me as soon 
as possible after we arrive? I am afraid my mother will be 
worried about my delay and she isn't well. I suppose they 
have a post office out this way." 

" Sure, Miss ! " said the man again, with another leering 
smile that made her resolve to have no further conversation 
than was absolutely necessary. She took out her fountain 
pen and hurriedly wrote: 

"Detained longer than I expected. May not get back 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 253 

S. H.," and handed the card to the man. He took 
it and turned it over, all too evidently reading it, and put it 
in his pocket. Shirley felt that she had made an impression 
of innocence by the move which so far was good. She put 
away her fountain pen deliberately, and managed in so doing 
to manipulate the rest of the leaves of notes into her left 
shoe. Somehow that gave her a little confidence and she sat 
back and began to wonder if there was anything more she 
could do. Those dropped postals were worse than useless, 
of course. Why had she not written an appeal to whoever 
picked them up ? Suiting the action to the thought she wrote 
another postal card her stock was getting low, there were 
but two more left. 

" For Christ's sake send the police to he^ me ! I ain 
being carried off by two strange men ! Shirley Hollister." 

She marked out the address on the other side and wrote : 
" To whoever picks this up/' She fluttered it to the breeze 
cautiously ; but her heart sank as she realized how little likeli- 
hood there was of its being picked up for days perhaps. For 
who would stop in a car to notice a bit of paper on the road ? 
And there seemed to be but few pedestrians. If she only had 
something larger, more attractive. She glanced at her belong- 
ings and suddenly remembered the book she had brought with 
her to read, one of the new novels from the cottage, a goodly 
sized volume in a bright red cover. The very thing! 

With a cautious glance at her keepers she took up the book 
as if to read, and opening it at the flyleaf began to write sur- 
reptitiously much the same message that had been on her last 
postal, signing her name and home address and giving her 
employers' address. Her heart was beating wildly when she 
had finished. She was trying to think just how she should 



S54 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

use this last bit of ammunition to the best advantage. Should 
she just drop it in the road quietly ? If only there were some 
way to fasten the pages open so her message would be read! 
Her handkerchief ! Of course ! She folded it cornerwise and 
slipped it in across the pages so that the book would fall open 
at the fly leaf, knotting the ends on the back of the cover. 
Every moment had to be cautious, and she must remember 
to keep her attitude of reading with the printed pages cover- 
ing the handkerchief. It seemed hours that it took her, her 
fingers trembled so. If it had not been for the rushing noise 
of wind and car she would not have dared so much undis- 
covered, but apparently her captors were satisfied that she 
still believed their story about going to Secretary Baker's 
country house, for they seemed mainly occupied in watching 
to see if they were pursued, casting anxious glances back now 
and tnen, but scarcely noticing her at all. 

Shirley had noticed two or three times when a car had 
passed them that the men both leaned down to do something 
at their feet to the machinery of the car. Were they afraid 
of being recognized? Would this perhaps give her a chance 
to fling her book out where it would be seen by people in an 
oncoming car ? Oh, if she but had the strength and skill to 
fling it into a car. But of course that was impossible without 
attracting the attention of the two men. Nevertheless, she 
must try what she could do. 

She lifted her eyes to the road ahead and lo, a big car was 
bearing down upon them ! She had almost despaired of meet- 
ing any more, for the road was growing more and more lonely 
and they must have come many miles. As soon as the two 
men in front of her sighted the car, they seemed to settle in 
their Beats and draw their hats down, a little farther over then 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 255 

yes. The same trouble seemed to develop with the machinery 
at their feet that Shirley had noticed before, and they bobbed 
and ducked and seemed to be wholly engrossed with their own 
affairs. 

Shirley's heart was beating so fast that it seemed as though 
it would suffocate her, and her hand seemed powerless as it 
lay innocently holding the closed book with the knotted 
handkerchief turned down out of sight; but she was girding 
herself, nerving herself for one great last effort, and praying 
to be guided. 

The big car came on swiftly and was about to pass, when 
Shirley half rose and hurled her book straight at it and then 
sank back in her seat with a fearful terror upon her, closing 
her eyes for one brief second, not daring to watch the results 
of her act, if there were to be any results. 

The men in the front seat suddenly straightened up antf 
looked around. 

"What's the matter?" growled the man who had got in 
last in quite a different tone from any he had used before 
* c What you tryin' to put over on us ? " 

Shirley gasped and caught at her self-control. 

"I've dropped my book," she stammered out wildly- 
"Could you stop long enough to pick it up? It was bor- 
rowed ! " she ended sweetly as if by inspiration, and wonder- 
ing at the steadiness of her tone when blood was pounding so 
in her throat and ears, and everything was black before her. 
Perhaps oh, perhaps they would stop and she could cry out 
to the people for help. 

The man rose up in his seat and looked back. Shirley casl 
one frightened glance back, too, and saw in that brief second 
that the other car had stopped and someone was standing up 
aiu? looking back. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 

te Hell ! No ! >f said her captor briefly, ducking down in 
nis seat. "Let her out!" he howled to the driver, and the 
car broke into a galloping streak, the wheels hardly seeming 
to touch the ground, the tonneau bounding and swaying this 
way and that. Shirley had all she could do to keep in her 
Beat. At one moment she thought how easy it would be to 
spring from the car and lie in a little still heap at the road- 
jide. But there were the notes ! She must not abandon her 
trust even for so fearful an escape from her captors. Suddenly, 
without warning, they turned a sharp curve and struck into a 
rough, almost unbroken road into the woods, and the thick 
growth seemed to close in behind them and shut them out 
from the world. 

Shirley shut her eye* 






CHAPTER XXIII 

THE next trolley that passed the old barn after the Hol 
listers had left brought a maid servant and a man servant 
from the Graham place. The other old servant met them, 
and together the three went to work. They had brought with 
them a lot of large dust-covers and floor-spreads such as are 
used by housemaids in cleaning a room, and with these they 
now proceeded to cover all the large pieces of furniture in the 
place. In a very short space of time the rugs and bits of 
carpet were carefully rolled up, the furniture piled in small 
compass in the middle of the rooms, and everything enveloped 
in thick coverings. The curtains, bric-a-brac, and even the 
dishes were put away carefully, and the whole big, inviting 
home was suddenly denuded. The clothes from the calico- 
curtained clothes-presses were folded and laid in drawers, 
and everything made perfectly safe for a lot of workmen to 
come into the house. Even the hay-loft bedrooms shared iiv 
this process. Only a cot was left for the old servant and a few 
necessary things for him to use, and most of these he trans- 
ported to the basement out of the way. When the work was 
done the man and maid took the trolley back home again and 
the other old man servant arranged to make his Sabbath as 
pleasant as possible in the company of his brother from the 
near-by farm. 

Monday morning promptly at eight o'clock the trolley, 
landed a bevy of workmen, carpenters, plasterers, plumbers, 
and furnace men, with a foreman who set them all at work 
as if it were a puzzle he had studied out and memorized the 
solution. In a short time the quiet spot was full of sound, 
%7 267 



258 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

the symphony of industry, the rhythm of toil. Some mem 
were working away with the furnace that had been stored in 
the cellar; others were measuring, fitting, cutting holes for 
lead pipes; still others were sawing away at the roof, making 
great gashes in its mossy extent; and two men were busj 
taking down the old barn door. Out in front more men were 
building a vat for mortar, and opening bags of lime and sand 
that began to arrive. Three men with curious aprons made of 
ticking, filled with thin wire nails, were frantically putting 
laths on the uprights that the carpenters had already set up, 
and stabbing them with nails from a seemingly inexhaustible 
supply in their mouths. It was as if they had all engaged to 
build the tower of Babel in a day, and meant to win a prize 
at it. Such sounds ! Such shoutings, such hangings, thump- 
ings, and harsh, raucous noises ! The bird in the tall tree 
looked and shivered, thankful that her brood were well away 
on their wings before all this cataclysm came to pass. 

Presently arrived a load of sashes, doors, and wooden 
frames, and another load of lumber. Things can be done in a 
hurry if you have money and influence and the will to insist 
upon what you want. Before night there was a good start 
made toward big changes in the old barn. 

Plumbers and gas-fitters and men who were putting in the 
hot-water heat chased one another around the place, each 
Inan seeking to get his pipes in place before the lathers got to 
that spot; and the contractor was everywhere, proving his 
right to be selected for this rush job. As soon as the lathers 
had finished with a room the plasterers took possession, and 
the old door was rapidly being replaced with a great glazed 
Hoor set in a frame of more sashes, so that the old darkness 

gone entirely 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 259 

In the roof big dormer windows were taking the place of 
the two or three little eyebrow affairs that had given air to 
the hay heretofore, and the loft was i'ast becoming pleasanter 
than the floor below. 

Outside laborers were busy building up a terrace, where 
a wide cement-floor piazza with stone foundations and low 
stone walls was to run across the entire front. Another chim- 
ney was rising from the region of the kitchen. A white 
enamel sink with a wide drain-shelf attached appeared next, 
with signs of a butler's pantry between kitchen and dining- 
room. A delightful set of china-closet doors with little 
diamond panes that matched the windows was put in one 
corner of the dining-room, and some bookcases with sliding 
doors began to develop along the w&. s of the living-room. 
Down in the basement a man was fitting stationary tubs for 
a laundry, and on both the first floor and the second bath- 
rooms were being made. If the place hadn't been so big, the 
workmen would have got in one another's way. Closets big 
and little were being put in, and parts of a handsome stair- 
case were lying about, until you wouldn't know the place at 
all. Every evening the old servant and the neighbor next 
door, who used to rent the old barn before he built his own 
new one, came together to look over what had been accom- 
plished during the day, and to discourse upon this changing 
world and the wonders of it. The farmer, in fact, learned 
a great deal about modern improvements, and at once set 
about bringing some of them to bear upon his own modest 
farmhouse. He had money in the bank, and why shouldn't 
he "nave things convenient for Sally"? 

When Sidney Graham reached the city on Monday morn- 
ing he scarcely took time to read his mail in the office and 



860 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

give the necessary attention to the day's work before he was 
ap and off again, flying along the Glenside Koad as fast as 
his car would carry him. His mind certainly was not on 
business that morning. He was as eager as a child to see 
how work at the old barn was progressing, and the workmen 
stood small chance of lying down on their job that week, for 
he meant to make every minute count, no matter how much it 
cost. He spent a large part of Monday hovering about the 
old barn, gloating over each new sign of progress, using his 
imagination on more things than the barn. But when Tues- 
day arrived an accumulation of work at the office in con- 
nection with a large order that had just come in kept him 
close to his desk. He had hoped to get away in time to reach 
Glenside before the workmen left in the afternoon, but four 
o'clock arrived with still a great pile of letters for him to 
sign, before his work would be done for the day. 

He had just signed his name for the forty-ninth time 
and laid his pen down with an impatient sigh of relief when 
the telephone on his desk rang. He hesitated. Should he 
answer it and be hindered again, or call his secretary and let 
her attend to it while he slipped away to his well-earned 
respite? A second insistent ring, however, brought him back 
to duty and he reached out and took up the receiver. 

" Is this Mr. Sidney Graham ? Long distance is calling ! * 

The young man frowned impatiently and wished he had 
Bent for his secretary. It was probably another tiresome 
confab on that Chicago matter, and it really wasn't worth 
the trouble, anyway. Then a small scared voice at the other 
end of the wire spoke: 

"Is that you, Mr. Graham? Well, this is Carol. Say. 
itr. vJraham, I'm afraid something awful has happened to 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 26J 

Shirley ! I don't know what to do, and I thought I'd bettei 
ask you." Her voice broke off in a gasp like a sob. 

A cold chill struck at the young man's heart, and a vision 
of Shirley battling with the ocean waves was instantly con- 
jured up. 

" Shirley ! Where is she ? Tell me, quick ! " he managed 
to say, though the words seemed to stick in his throat. 

" She's down at Washington," answered Carol. " Mr. 
Barnard phoned her last night. There was something special 
nobody else could take notes about, because it was for a 
Government contract, and has to be secret. Mr, Barnard 
asked her to please go and she went this morning. Mother 
didn't like her to go, but she addressed a lot of postal cards 
for her to write back, and one came postmarked Baltimore 
in this afternoon's mail, saying she was having a nice time. 
But just now a call came for mother to go to the telephone. 
She was asleep and George was crabbing so I had to come. 
It was a strange man in Washington. He said he had just 
found three postal cards on the road addressed to mother, that 
all said ' Help ! Quick ! Two men were carrying off Shirley 
and please to phone to the police/ He took the postals to 
the police station, but he thought he ought to phone us. And 
oh, Mr. Graham, what shall I do? I can't tell mother. It 
will kill her, and how can we help Shirley?" 

"Don't tell mother," said Graham quickly, trying to 
speak calmly out of his horror. "Be a brave girl, Carol. 
A great deal depends on you just now. Have you phoned Mr. 
Barnard ? Oh, you say he's in Washington ? He was to meet 
your sister in Baltimore? He did meet her you say? The 
postal card said she had met him? Well, the next thing is 
to phone Mr. Clegg and find out if he knows anything. Ill 



262 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

do that at once, and unles Le has heard that she is all right 
I will start for Washington on the next train. Suppose you 
stay right where you are till half -past five. I may want to 
call you up again and need you in a hurry. Then you go 
back to the cottage as fast as you can and talk cheerfully. 
Say you went to take a walk. Isn't Elizabeth with you? 
Well, tell her to help keep your mother from suspecting 
anything. Above all things don't cry ! It won't do any good 
and it may do lots of harm. Get George off by himself and 
tell him everything, and tell him I said he was to make some 
excuse to go down town after supper and stay at the telephone 
office till ten o'clock. I may want to call him up from 
Washington. Now be a brave little girl. I suspect your 
sister Shirley would tell you to pray. Good-by." 

" I will ! " gasped Carol. " Good-by ! " 

Graham pressed his foot on the bell under his desk and 
reached out to slam his desk drawers shut and put away his 
papers. His secretary appeared at the door. 

" Get me Barnard and Clegg on the phone ! Ask for 
Mr. Barnard or, if he isn't in, Mr. Clegg. Then go out to 
the other phone and call up the station. Find out what's the 
next express to Washington. Tell Bromwell to be ready to 
drive me to the station and bring my car back to the garage." 

He was working rapidly as he talked; putting papers in 
the safe, jotting down a few notes for the next day's work, 
trying to think of everything at once. The secretary handed 
him the phone, quietly saying, " Mr. Clegg on the phone," and 
went out of the room. 

Excited conference with Mr. Clegg brought out the fact 
that he was but just in receipt of a telegram from Police 
Headquarters in Washimrton saying that a book with Barnar<? 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 263 

and Clegg's address and an appeal from a young woman 
named Shirley Hollister who was apparently being kidnapped 
by two strange men in an auto, had been flung into a passing 
car and brought to them. They had sent forces in search 
of the girl at once and would do all in their power to find 
her. Meantime they would like any information that would 
be helpful in the search. 

Mr. Clegg was much excited. He appeared to have lost 
his head. He seemed glad to have another cooler mind at 
work on the case. He spluttered a good deal about the im- 
portance of the case and the necessity for secrecy. He said 
he hoped it wouldn't get into the papers, and that it would 
be Barnard and Clegg's undoing if it did. He seemed more 
concerned about that and the notes that Shirley probably 
had, than about the girl's situation. When Graham brought 
him up rather sharply he admitted that there had been a 
message from Barnard that he would be detained over night 
probably, but he had attached no significance to that. He 
knew Barnard's usual hotel address in Washington but hadn't 
thought to phone him about the telegram from police head- 
quarters. Graham hung up at last in a panic of fury and 
dismay, ringing violently for his secretary again. 

" The next train leaves at five o'clock," she said capably, 
as she entered. " Bromwell has gone after the car. I told 
him to buy you a mileage book and save your time at this 
snd. You have forty minutes and he will be back in plenty 
of time." 

" Good ! " said Graham. " Now call up long distance and 
get me Police Headquarters in Washington. No! Use the 
phone in father's office please, I'll have to use this while you're 
getting them." 



864 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

As soon as she had left the room he called up the show 
again and was fortunate in getting Carol almost immediately, 
the poor child being close at hand all in a tremble, with 
Elizabeth in no less a state of nervousness, brave and white, 
waiting for orders. 

" Can yoa give me an exact description of your sister's 
dress, and everything that she had with her when she started 
this morning ? " asked Graham, prepared with pen and paper 
to write it down. 

Carol summoned her wits and described Shirley's simple 
outfit exactly, even down to the little black pumps on her 
feet, and went mentally through the small hand-bag she had 
carried. 

"Oh, yes!" she added, "and she had a book to read! 
One she found here in the cottage. It had a red cover and 
was called, " From the Car Behind." 

Graham wrote them all down carefully, asked a few more 
details of Shirley's plans, and bade Carol again to be brave 
and go home with a message to George to be at the phone 
from half -past eight to ten. 

He was all ready to go to his train when the Washington 
call came in, and as he hurried to his father's office to answer 
it he found his heart crying out to an Unseen Power to help 
in this trying hour and protect the sweet girl in awful peril. 

" Oh, God, I love her ! " he found his heart saying over 
and over again, as if it had started out to be an individual by 
itself without his will or volition. 

There was no comfort from Washington Police Head- 
quarters. Nothing more had been discovered save another 
crumpled postal lying along the roadside. They received 
with alacrity, however, Mr. Barnard's Washington hotel ad- 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 66 

drees, and the description of the young woman and her be- 
longings. When Graham had finished the hasty conversation 
he had to fly to make his train, and when at last he lay back 
in his seat in the parlor car and let the waves of his anxiety 
and trouble roll over him he was almost overwhelmed. He 
had led a comparatively tranquil life for a young man who 
had never tried to steer clear of trouble, and this was the first 
great calamity that had ever come his way. Calamity? No, 
he would not own yet that it was a calamity. He was hurrying 
to her! He would find her! He would not allow himself 
to think that anything had befallen her. But wherever she 
was, if she was still alive, no matter how great her peril, he 
was sure she was praying now, and he would pray too ! Yes, 
pray as she had taught him. Oh, God! If he only knew 
how to pray better ! What was it she had said so often ? 
" Whatsoever ye ask in my name " yes, that was it " I will 
do it/' What was that talismanic Name? Ah! Christ! "Oh, 
God, in the name of Christ " But when he came to the 
thought of her she was too exquisite and dear to be put into 
words, so his petition went up in spirit form, unframed by 
words to weight it down, wafted up by the pain of a soul in 
torture. 

At Baltimore it occurred to Graham to send a telegram 
to Barnard to meet him at the train, and when he got out at 
Union Station the first person he saw was Barnard, white and 
haggard, looking for him through the bars of the train gate, 
He grasped the young man's hand as if it were a last straw 
for a drowning man to cling to, and demanded in a shaking 
voice to know if he had heard anything from Miss Hollister. 

One of the first questions that Graham asked was whether 
Barnard had been back to the office where Miss Hollister had 
taken the dictation, to report her disappearance. 



*66 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

"Well, no, I hadn't thought of that/'' said Barnard 
blankly. " What would they know about it ? The fact is I 
was rather anxious to keep the facts from getting to them. 
You see they warned me that there were parties anxious to 
get hold of those specifications. It's Government work, you 
know/' 

" They should know at onco," said Graham sternly. " They 
may have inside information which would give us a clew to 
follow. The secret service men are onto a lot of things that 
we common mortals don't suspect." 

Mr. Barnard looked mortified and convinced. 

"Well, what have you done so far? We would better 
understand each other thoroughly so as to save time and not 
go over old ground. You have been in communication with 
Police Headquarters, of course ? " asked Graham. 

"Why, no," said the older man apologetically. "You 
see, I got here just in time for the train, and failing to find 
the young lady in the station where we had agreed to meet, I 
took it for granted that she had used the extra time in driving 
about to see a few sights in the city, as I suggested, and had 
somenow failed to get back in time. I couldn't understand it 
because she had been quite anxious to get home to-night. I 
could have caught the train myself, but didn't exactly like to 
leave her alone in a strange city, though, of course, it's per- 
fectly safe for a steady girl like that. Afterward it occurred 
to me that she might have gotten on the train and perhaps I 
should have done so too, but there was really very little time 
to decide, for the train pulled out two minutes after I reached 
the station. I waited about here for a time, and then went 
over to the Continental, where my sister is stopping, thinking 
I would ask her to stay in the station and watch for the young 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 267 

lady and I would go home; but I found my sister had run 
down to the shore for a few days ; so I had something to eat 
and while I was in the dining-room your telegram came. I 
was hoping somehow you had seen Miss Hollister, or had 
word from her, and it was all right/' 

One could see the poor man had no conception of what 
was due to a lady in his care, and Graham looked at him for 
a moment with rage, wishing he could take him hy the throat 
and shake some sense into him. 

" Then you don't know f'at she's been kidnapped and the 
police are out on track for her?" said Graham dryly. 

"No! You don't sa^!" exclaimejd Barnard, turning 
white and showing he had some real feeling after all. e< Kid- 
napped ! Why why how could she ? And she's got those 
notes! Why, Graham! You're fooling ! Why, how came you 
to know?" 

Graham told him tersely as he walked the man over to 
the telephone booths, and finished with: 

" Now, you go in that booth and phone your Government 
man, and I'll call up police headquarters and see whaf s 
doing. We've got to work fast, for there's no telling what 
may have happened in the last three hours. It's up to us 
to find that girl before anything worse happens to her." 

White and trembling Barnard tottered into the booth. 
When he came out again the sleuth-hounds of the Secret 
Service were on the trail of Shirley Hollister's captors. 






CHAPTER XXIV 

THE car that was bearing Shirley Hollister through the 
lonely wooded road at a breathless speed suddenly came to a 
halt in the rear of an old house whose front faced on another 
road equally lonely. During the brief time that they had 
been in the woods, the sky seemed to have perceptibly dark- 
ened with the coming evening. 

Shirley looked about her with increased fright. It was 
almost night and here was her prison, far from town or 
human dwelling place. Even the road was at some distance 
in front of the house, and there were more woods on either 
side. 

"This here is Secretary Baker's summer home," an- 
nounced the man who had done the talking, as he climbed 
out of the car and opened the door for her. ee You can just 
fitep in the back door and go through to the parlor; the help's 
all out this afternoon. The Secretary 5 !! be down presently. 
He always takes a nap afternoons about this time. I'll tell 
bin* you've come." 

There seemed nothing to do but obey, and Shirley chose 
to let the farce continue. Surely the man must know she 
was not a fool, but it was better than open hostility. There 
was nothing to be gained by informing him that she knew h< ' 
was guying her. 

" Oh, Jesus Christ, I trust myself to you ! " she breathed 
in her heart as she stepped across the leaf -strewn grass and 
looked about her, wondering whether she should ever walk 
the earth again after she had stepped into the dim tree- 
shrouded house. But why go in? 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 26t 

" I think I will remain out here," she said calmly, albeit 
her heart was pounding away like a trip-hammer. " Pleasa 
tell Mr. Baker to come to me here. It is much pleasantei 
than in the house a day like this." 

"Aw no! You won't neither! The Secretary don't re- 
ceive in the open air even in summer," drawled the man, 
and she noticed that he and the driver straightened up and 
stepped closer to her, one on either side. She gave one wild 
glance toward the open space. There was simply no chance at 
all to run away even if she succeeded in eluding them at the 
start by a quick, unexpected dash. They were alert athletic 
men, and no telling how many more were hidden in the house. 

" Oh, very well, of course, if it's a matter of etiquette ! * 
aaid Shirley pleasantly, determined to keep up the farce a> 
long as possible. 

A cold, dark air met the girl as she stepped within the 
creaking door and looked about her. At her left was an old- 
fashioned kitchen, dusty and cobwebby. A long, narrow 
hall led to the front of the nouse and her guide pointed her 
toward a room on tha right. There was something hollow 
and eerie in the sound of their footsteps on the old oaken 
floor. The room into which she was ushered was musty and 
dusty as the rest. The floor was covered with an ancient 
ingrain carpet. The table was covered with a magenta felt 
cover stamped with a vine of black leaves and riddled witb 
moth holes. The walls were hung with old prints and steel 
engravings suspended by woollen cords and tassels. The furni- 
ture was dilapidated. Everything was covered with dust, 
but there were finger marks in the dust here and there 
that showed the place had been recently visited. Through an 
open doorway an old square piano was visible in what must 



370 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

be the parlor. The place seemed to Shirley fairly teeming 
with memories of some family now departed. She leaped to 
the quick conclusion that the house had been long deserted 
and had only recently been entered and used as a rendezvous 
for illegal conferences. It occurred to her that there might 
be an opportunity for her to hide her precious papers some- 
where safely if it came to it that she must be searched. How 
about that piano? Could she slip some of them between the 
keys? But it was hardly likely that there would be oppor- 
tunity for anything like that. 

She felt strangely calm as she looked about upon her 
prison. 

" H'm ! He ain't come yet ! " remarked her guide as he 
glanced into the front room. " Well, you can set down. He 
won't be long now. Joe, you jest look about a bit and see if 
you can find the Secretary, and tell him the young lady is 
here/' 

The man flung himself full length on the carpet-covered 
couch and looked at her with satisfaction. 

"What train was that you said you must make? I'm 
afraid now you might be going to be just a trifle late if he 
don't get a hustle on, but you can't hurry a great man like that 
you know." 

" Oh, it's no matter ! " said Shirley coolly, looking around 
her with the utmost innocence. " What a quaint old house ! 
Has it been in the family a long time ? " 

The man looked at her amusedly. 

" You're a cute one ! " he remarked affably. " I believe 
you're a pretty good sport! You know perfectly well you're 
in my power and can't do a turn to help yourself, yet you 
sail around here as calm as a queen ! You're some looker, too I 



THE ENCHANTED BARN $71 

Blamed if I'm not enjoying myself. I wouldn't mind a kiss 
or two from those pretty lips " 

But Shirley had melted through the doorway into the 
other room and her voice floated back with charming in- 
difference as if she had not heard, though she was ready to 
scream with loathing and fear of the man : 

"Why, isn't this a delightful old piano? The keys are 
actually mother-of-pearl. Isn't it odd? Would Mr. Baker 
mind if I played on it ? " 

And before her astonished captor could get himself to the 
doorway she had sat down on the rickety old hair-cloth stool 
and swept the keys lightly. The old chords trembled and 
ihivered as if awaking from a tomb, and uttered forth a 
quavering, sweet sound like ancient memories. 

The man was too much astonished to stop her, amused 
too, perhaps, and interested. Her white fingers over the 
dusty pearls in the growing dusk had a strange charm for 
the hardened reprobate, like the wonder of a flower dropped 
into the foulness of a prison. Before he could recover, he was 
startled again by her voice soaring out in the empty echoing 
house: 

Rock of ages, cleft for me, 

Let me hide myself in Thee; 
Let the water and the blood 

From Thy riven side which flowed, 
Be of sin the double cure, 

Save me Lord and make me pure! 

Perhaps those dim, gloomy walls had echoed before to th<j 
grand old tune, but never could it have been sung in direi 
strait, or with more earnest cry from a soul in distress. She 
had chosen the first words that seemed to fit the chords she 



272 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

had struck, but every syllable was a prayer to the G&d in 
whom she trusted. It may be the man felt the power of her 
appeal as he stood rooted in the doorway and listened while 
she sang through all the verses she could remember. But 
the last trembling note was broken harshly by Joe's voice at 
the kitchen door in sharp, rasping orders: 

te Hist, there ! Can that noise ! Do you want to raise hell 
here? Wake up, Sam ! Get onto your job. Hennie's cominV 

" That's all right, Joe ! Dry up ! This is good Sunday 
School dope ! This won't rouse no suspicions. Go to the devil 
and mind your business ! I know what I'm about ! " 

Shirley was almost ready to cry, but she drew a deep breath 
and started on another song: 

Jesus, Lover of my soul, 

Let me to Thy bosom fly, 
While the nearer waters roll, 

While the tempest still is high! 
Hide me, oh, my Saviour hide, 

Till the storm of life is past. 

On through the time-worn words she sang, while the sin- 
hardened man stood silently and listened. His eyes had 
gradually lost their leer and grown soft and tender, as if 
some childhood memories of home and mother and a time 
when he was innocent and good were looking out his eyes, 
reminding him of what he once intended to be before he ate 
the apple of wisdom and became as the gods and devils. 
Shirley gradually became aware that she was holding her 
strange audience; and a power beyond herself steadied her 
voice, and kept her fingers from trembling on the old pearl 
keys, as she wandered on from song to song; perhaps hap- 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 273 

pening on the very ones, who knows ? that this man, stand- 
ing in the dying twilight of the old! gloomy house, had sung 
beside his mother's hearth or in church during his childhood ? 
Certain it is that he stood there silent and listened for at least 
half an hour without an interruption, while the light in the 
big room grew dimmer and dimmer and all about the house 
seemed still as death in the intervals between her voice. 
She was just beginning : 

Abide with me, 

Fast falls the eventide, 
The darkness deepens, 

Lord, with me abide! 

When the man put his hand in his pocket and brought out a 
candle. Scratching a match on his trousers, he lit the candle 
and set it carefully on the piano, where its light fell nickering, 
wavering over her worn young face; and who shall say that 
she was not a messenger from another world to this man who 
had long trodden the downward path ? 

They were interrupted, however, before this song was 
finished by a newcomer who entered like a shadow and stood 
at the end of the piano looking wonderingly from Shirley 
to the man, when she glanced up. She stopped, startled, 
for although he wore no brass buttons nor blue clothes she 
was quite sure those were the same gray eyes that had looked 
at her from the recess of the window in the Government office 
that afternoon, perhaps the same boy who had come after 
her car and sent her off on this long way into the wilderness. 

The man Sam straightened up suddenly and looked about 
him half-ashamed with an apologetic grin : 

" Oh, you've come, have you, Hennie ? Well, you been a 
If 



274 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

long time about it! But now I guess we'll get to work 
Where's Joe? Out on the watch? All right then, Miss, if 
you've no objection, we'll just take a little vacation on the 
psalm singin' and turn our attention to worldly things. I 
calculate you're sharp enough to know what we brought you 
put here for ? I acknowledge you can sing real well, and you 
aorta got my goat for a while there with all that mourning 
bench tra-la, for you certainly have got that holy dope down 
fine; but now the time's come for business, and you needn't 
to think that because I can enjoy a little sentiment now and 
ihen in a leisure moment that you can put anything over on 
me, for it can't be did ! I mean business and I've got you in 
pay power! We're ten miles from any settlement, and no 
fleighbors anywhere's about. Everybody moved away. So it 
won't do any good to work any funny business on us. You 
can't get away. We're all armed, and no one knows where 
you are! If you behave yourself and do as you're told there 
won't be any trouble. We'll just transact our business and 
then we'll have a bit of supper, and mebbe a few more tunes 
got any rag- time in your repitwar ? and then sometime after 
midnight, when the moon's good and dark, we'll get you back 
to civilization where you won't have no trouble in gettin' 
home. But if you act up and get funny, why you know what 
to expect. There was a young girl murdered once in this 
house and buried in the cellar and ever since folks say if a 
hanted and they won't come near it. That's the kind of a 
place we're in ! So, now are you ready ? " 

Shirley sat cold and still. It seemed as if her life blood 
had suddenly congealed in her veins and for a second she felt 
as if her senses were going to desert her. Then the echo of 
her own song : " Hide me, oh, my Saviour hide ! " seemed to 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 273 

ery out from her soul silently and she rallied once more and 
gained her self-control. 

"Well, Miss/' went on the man impressively, "I sef 
you're ready for the question, and you've got your nerve with 
you, too, I'll hand you that ! But I warn you it won't do nc 
good ! We brung you out here to get a hold of that note-book 
you wrote in this morning, and we're goin' to have it. We 
know that Mr. Barnard left it in your care. Hennie here 
heard him say for you to keep it. So it won't be of any use 
for you to lie about it." 

" Of course ! " said Shirley, standing up and reaching over 
for her hand-bag, which she had laid on the piano beside her 
while she played. " I understand perfectly. But I'd like to 
gsk you a question, Mr. ? " 

" Smith, or Jones, whichever you like to call it. Spit if 
out!" 

" I suppose you are paid to bring me out here, Mr. Smith, 
and get my property away from me ? " she said gravely. 

"Well, yes, we don't calculate to do it just for sweet 
charity." 

"And 7 am paid to look after my note-book, you see. It's 
a trust that has been given me ! I just have to look after it. 
It's out of the question for me to desert it ! " Shirley spoke 
coolly and held her little bag close in the firm grasp of her 
two hands. The man stared at her and laughed. The boy 
Hennie fairly gaped in his astonishment. " A girl with all that 
nerve ! " 

" Of course, I understand perfectly that you can murder 
me and bury me down in the cellar beside that other girl 
that was murdered, and perhaps no one will find it out for 
a while, and you can go on having a good time on the money 



276 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

you will get for it. But the day will come when you will 
have to answer for it! You know I didn't come here alone 
to-day !" 

Both men looked startled and glanced uneasily into the 
shadows, as if there might be someone lurking there. 

" God came with me and He knows ! He'll make you 
remember some day ! " 

The boy laughed out a nervous ha ! ha ! of relief, but the 
man seemed held, fascinated by her look and words. There 
was silence for a second while the girl held off the ruffian 
in the man by sheer force of her strong personality. Then 
the boy laughed again, with a sneer in the end of it, and 
the spell was broken. The leer came into the eyes of the man 
again. The sneer of the boy had brought him to himself, 
to the self he had come to be. 

" Nix on the sob-stuff, girlie ! " he said gruffly. " It won't 
go down with me! We're here for business and we've been 
delayed too long already. Come now, will you hand out that 
note-book or will we have to search you?" He took one 
stride across to where she stood and wrenched the hand-bag 
from her grasp before she was aware of his intention. She 
had not meant to give it up without a struggle, much as she 
loathed the thought of one. She must make the matter last 
as long as possible, if perchance God was sending help to 
her, and must contest every inch of the way as far as lay in 
her power. Oh, had anyone picked up her cards? Had 
the book with its message reached any friendly eye? 

Frail and white and stern she stood with folded arms 
while they turned out the contents of the little bag and 
scattered it over the piano, searching 1 with clumsy finger* 
among her dainty things. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 277 

The note-book she had rolled within her handkerchiefs 
and made it hard to find. She feared lest her ruse would 
be discovered when they looked it over. The boy was the one 
who clutched for the little book, recognizing it as the one 
he had seen in the office that morning. The man hung over 
shis shoulder and peered in the candlelight, watching the boy 
anxiously. It meant a good deal of money if they put this 
thing through. 

" Here it is ! " said the boy, fluttering through the leaves 
and carefully scrutinizing the short-hand characters. " Yes, 
that's the dope! 7 ' 

He ran his eye down the pages, caught a word here and 
there, technicalities of manufacture, the very items, of course, 
that he wanted, if this had been the specifications for the Gov- 
ernment order. Shirley remembered with relief that none of 
the details were identical, however, with the notes she carried 
in her shoes. The book-notes were in fact descriptive of an 
entirely different article from that demanded by the Govern- 
ment. The question was, would these people be wise enough 
to discover that f act before she was out of their power or not ? 

Furtively she studied the boy. There was something keen 
and cunning about his youthful face. He was thick-set, with 
blond hair and blue eyes. He might be of German origin, 
though there was not a sign of accent about his speech. He 
had the bull-dog chin, retreating forehead and eagle nose of 
the Kaiser in embryo. Shirley saw all this as she studied him 
furtively. That he was an expert in short-hand was proved by 
the ease with which he read some of her obscure sentences, 
translating rapidly here and there as he examined the book. 
Was he well enough informed about the Government con- 
tract to realize that these were not the notes she had taken 



378 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

in the office that morning? And should he fail to recog* 
nize it, was there perhaps some one higher in authority to 
whom they would be shown before she was released? She 
shivered and set her weary toes tight with determination over 
the little crinkling papers in her shoes. Somehow she would 
protect those notes from being taken, even if she had to 
swallow them. There surely would be a way to hide them if 
the need came. 

Suddenly the tense strain under which she was holding 
herself was broken by the man. He looked up with a grin, 
rubbing his hands with evident self-gratulation and relief : 

" That's all right, Girlie ! That's the dope we want. Now 
we won't trouble you any longer. We'll have supper. Hennie, 
you go get some of that wood out in the shed and we'll have a 
fire on the hearth and make some coffee ! " 

But Shirley, standing white and tense in the dim shadow 
of the room, suddenly felt the place whirling about her, and 
the candle dancing afar off. Her knees gave way beneath her 
and she dropped back to the piano stool weakly, and covered 
her face with her hands, pressing hard on her eyeballs ; trying 
to keep her senses and stop this black dizziness that threatened 
to submerge her consciousness. She must not faint if this 
was fainting. She must keep her senses and guard her precious 
shoes. If one of those should fall off while she was uncon* 
gcious all would be undone. 









CHAPTER XXV 

THE man looked up from the paper he was twisting for a 
fire and saw Shirley's attitude of despair. 

" Say, kid/' he said, with a kind of gruff tenderness, " you 
don't need to take it that a-way. I know it's tough luck to 
lose out when you been so nervy and all, but you knew we had 
it over you from the start. You hadn't a show. And say ! 
Girlie! I tell you what! I'll make Hennie sit down right 
now and copy 'em off for you, and you can put 'em in your 
book again when you get back and nobody be the wiser. We'll 
just take out the leaves. We gotta keep the original o' course, 
but that won't make any beans for you. It won't take you no 
time to write 'em over again if he gives you a copy." 

Somehow it penetrated through Shirley's tired conscious^ 
ness that the man was trying to be kind to her. He was 
pitying her and offering her a way out of her supposed 
dilemma, offering to assist her in some of his own kind of 
deception. The girl was touched even through all her other 
crowding emotions and weariness. She lifted up ner head 
with a faint little smile. 

" Thank you," she said, wearily, " but that wouldn't do me 
any good." 

" Why not ? " asked the man sharply. " Your boss would 
never know it got out through you." 

" But I should know I had failed ! " she said sadly. " If 
you had my notes I should know that I had failed in my 
trust." 

** It wouldn't be your fault. You couldn't have helped it ! " 

279 



280 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

" Oh, yes, I could, and I ought. I shouldn't have let the 
driver turn around. I should have got out of that car and 
waited at the station as Mr. Barnard told me to do till he 
came. I had been warned and I ought to have been on my 
guard. So you see it was my fault." 

She drooped her head forward and rested her chin de- 
jectedly on the palm of her hand, her elbow on her knee. The 
man stood looking at her for a second in half-indignant 
astonishment. 

" By golly ! " he said at last. " You certainly are some 
nut ! Well, anyhow, buck up, and let's have some tea. Sorry 
I can't see my way clear to help you out any further, being 
as we're sort of partners in this job and you certainly have 
got some nerve for a girl, but you know how it is. I guess I 
can't do no more'n I said. I got my honor to think about, 
too. See ? Hennie ! Get a move on you. We ain't waitin' all 
night fer eats. Bring in them things from the cupboard and 
let's get to work." 

Shirley declined to come to the table when at last the 
repast was ready. She said she was not hungry. In fact, the 
smell or the crackers and cheese and pickles and dried beef 
sickened her. She felt too hysterical to try to eat, and besides 
she had a lingering feeling that she must keep near that piano. 
If anything happened she had a vague idea that she might 
somehow hide the precious notes within the big old instrument. 

The man frowned when she decUned to come to supper, 
but a moment later stumbled awkwardly across the room with 
a slopping cup of coffee and set it down beside her. 

" Buck up, girlie ! " he growled. " Drink that and you'll 
feel better." 

Shirley thanked him and tried to drink a few mouthfuls. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 281 

Then the thought occurred to her that it might be drugged, 
and she swallowed no more. But she tried to look a bit 
brighter. If she must pass this strange evening in the com- 
pany of these rough men, it would not help matters for her to 
give way to despair. So after toying with the teaspoon a 
moment, she put the cup down and began to play soft airs on 
the old piano again whi. 3 the men ate and took a stealthy 
taste now and then from a black bottle. She watcLad them 
furtively as she played, marvelling at their softened ex- 
pressions, remembering the old line: 

"Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast," and 
wondering if perhaps there were not really something in it. 
jff she had not been in such a terrifying situation she would 
really have enjoyed the character study that this view of 
those two faces afforded her, as she sat in the shadow playing 
softly while they ate with the flaring candle between them. 

" I like music with my meals ! " suddenly chanted out the 
boy in an interval. But the man growled in a low tone: 

" Shut up ! Ain't you got no manners ? " 

Shirley prolonged that meal as much as music could do it, 
for she had no relish for a more intimate tete-a-tete with 
cither of her companions. When she saw them grow restless 
she began to sing again, light little airs this time with catchy 
words ; or old tender melodies of home and mother and child- 
hood. They were songs she had sung that last night in the 
dear old barn when Sidney Graham and Elizabeth were with 
them, and unconsciously her voice took on the wail of her heart 
for all that dear past so far away from her now. 

Suddenly, as the last tender note of a song died away Joe 
^tumbled breathlessly into the room. The boy Hennie slithered 
out of the room like a serpent at his first word. 



*82 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

" Beat it ! " he cried in a hoarse whisper. " Get a move 
on! All hell's out after us! I bet they heard her singin'' 
Take her an' beat it ! I'll douse the fire an' out the candle. 

He seized a full bucket of water and dashed it over the 
dying fire. Shirley felt the other man grasp her arm in a 
fierce grip. Then Joe snuffed out the candle with his broad 
thumb and finger and all was pitch dark. She felt herself 
dragged across the floor regardless of furniture in the way, 
stumbling, choking with fear, her one thought that whatever 
happened she must not let her slippers get knocked off ; hold- 
ing her feet in a tense strain with every muscle extended to 
keep the shoes fastened on like a vise. She was haunted with 
a wild thought of how she might have slipped under the piano 
and eluded her captor if only the light had gone out one 
second sooner before he reached her side. But it was too late 
to think of that now, and she was being dragged along breath- 
lessly, out the front door, perhaps, and down a walk; no, it 
was amongst trees, for she almost ran into one. The man 
swore at her, grasped her arm till he hurt her and she cried 
out. 

" You shut up or I'll shoot you ! " he said with an oath. 
He had lost all his suavity and there was desperation in his 
voice. He kept turning his head to look back and urging 
her on. 

She tripped on a root and stumbled to her knees, bruising 
them painfully, but her only thought was one of joy that her 
shoes had not come off. 

The man swore a fearful oath under his breath, then 
snatched her up and began to run with her in his arms. It 
was then she heard Graham's voice calling : 



" Shirley ! Where are you ? I'm coming 



t 99 






THE ENCHANTED BARN 283 

She thought she was swooning or dreaming and that it 
was not really he, for how could he possibly be here? But 
she cried out with a voice as clear as a bell : " I'm here, Sidney, 
come quick ! " In his efforts to hush her voice, the man 
stumbled and fell with her in his arms. There came other 
voices and forms through the night. She was gathered up in 
strong, kind arms and held. The last thought she had before 
she sank into unconsciousness was that God had not for- 
gotten. He had been remembering all the time and sent His 
help before it was too late; just as she had known all along 
He must do, because He had promised to care for His own, 
and she was one of His little ones. 

When she came to herself again she was lying in Sidney 
Graham's arms with her head against his shoulder feeling oh, 
so comfortable and tired. There were two automobiles with 
powerful headlights standing between the trees, and a lot of 
policemen in the shadowy background. Her captor stood 
sullen against a tree with his hands and feet shackled. Joe 
stood between two policemen with a rope bound about his 
body spirally, and the boy Hennie, also bound, beside his 
fallen bicycle, turned his ferret eyes from side to side as if 
he hoped even yet to escape. Two other men with hawk-like 
faces that she had not seen before were there also, manacled, 
and with eyes of smouldering fires. Climbing excitedly out 
of one of the big cars came Mr. Barnard, his usually immacu- 
late pink face smutty and weary ; his sparse white hair rumpled 
giddily, and a worried pucker on his kind, prim face. 

" Oh, my dear Miss Hollister ! How unfortunate ! " he 
exclaimed. "I do hope you haven't suffered too much 
inconvenience ! " 

Shirley smiled up at him from her shoulder of refuge as 



284 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

from a dream. It was all so amusing and impossible after 
what she had been through. It couldn't be real. 

" I assure you I am very much distressed on your account," 
went on Mr. Barnard, politely and hurriedly, " and I hate to 
mention it at such a time, but could you tell me whether the 
notes are safe? Did those horrid men get anything away 
from you?" 

A sudden flicker of triumph passed over the faces of the 
fettered man and the boy, like a ripple over still water and 
died away into unintelligence. 

But Shirley's voice rippled forth in a glad, clear laugh, 
as she answered joyously: 

"Yes, Mr. Barnard, they got my note-book, but not the 
notes! They thought the Tilman-Brooks notes were what 
they were after, but the real notes are in my shoes. Won't 
you please get them out, for I'm afraid I can't hold them on 
any longer, my feet ache so ! " 

It is a pity that Shirley was not in a position to see the 
look of astonishment, followed by a twinkle of actual apprecia- 
tion that came over the face of the shackled man beside the 
tree as he listened. One could almost fancy he was saying to 
himself: "The nervy little nut! She put one over on me 
after all!" 

It was also a pity that Shirley could not have got the full 
view of the altogether precise and conventional Mr. Barnard 
kneeling before her on the ground, removing carefully, with 
deep embarrassment and concern, first one, then the other, of 
her little black pumps, extracting the precious notes, counting 
over the pages and putting them ecstatically into his pocket. 
No one of that group but Shirley could fully appreciate the 
ludicrous picture he made. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 

" You are entirely sure that no one but yourself has seen 
these notes ? " he asked anxiously as if he hardly dared to 
believe the blessed truth. 

" Entirely sure, Mr. Barnard ! " said Shirley happily, " and 
now if you wouldn't mind putting on my shoes again I can 
relieve Mr. GrsJiam of the necessity of carrying me an} 
further." 

" Oh, surely, surely ! " said Mr. Barnard, quite fussed and 
getting down laboriously again, his white forelock all tossed, 
and his forehead perplexed over the unusual task. How did 
women get into such a little trinket of a shoe, anyway? 

" I assure you, Miss Hollister, our firm appreciates what 
you have done! We shall not forget it. You will see, we 
shall not forget it ! " he puffed as he rose with beads of 
perspiration on his brow. " You have done a great thing for 
Barnard and Clegg to-day ! " 

" She's done more than that ! " said a burly policeman 
significantly glancing around the group of sullen prisoners, as 
Graham put her upon her feet beside him. " She's rounded up 
the whole gang for us, and that's more than anybody else has 
been able to do yet ! She oughtta get a medal of some kind 
fer that!" 

Then, with a dare-devil lift of his head and a gleam of 
something like fun in his sullen eyes, the manacled man by 
the tree spoke out, looking straight at Shirley, real admiration 
in his voice : 

" I say, pard ! I guess you're the winner ! I'll hand you 
what's comin' to you if I do lose. You certainly had your 
nerve ! " 

Shirley looked at him with a kind of compassion in her eyes. 

" I'm sorry you have to be there," she finished. a You 



S86 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

were as fine as you could be to me under the circumstances, 
I suppose ! I thank you for that." 

The man met her gaze for an instant, a flippant reply 
upon his lips, but checked it and dropping his eyes, was 
silent. The whole little company under the trees were hushed 
into silence before the miracle of a girl's pure spirit, leaving 
its impress on a blackened soul. 

Then, quietly, Graham led her away to his car with 
Barnard and the detectives following. The prisoners were 
loaded into the other cars, and hurried on the way to 
judgment. 

ow ' *'jfi fib/ noY <.$ tt&ftft ton Kfte '// lyBto&xv&d HOY 






CHAPTEE XXVI 

THE ride back to the city was like a dream to Shirley 
afterward. To see the staid Mr. Barnard so excited, babbling 
away about her bravery and exulting like a child over the 
recovery of the precious notes, was wonder enough. But to 
feel the quiet protection and tender interest of Sidney Graham 
filled her with ecstasy. Of course it was only kindly interest 
and friendly anxiety, and by to-morrow she would have put 
it into order with all his other kindlinesses, but to-night, 
weary and excited as she was, with the sense of horror over 
her recent experience still upon her, it was sweet to feel hia 
attention, and to let his voice thrill through her tired heart, 
without stopping to analyze it and be sure she was not too- 
glad over it. What if he would be merely a friend to-morrow 
again ! To-night he was her rescuer, and she would rest back 
upon that and be happy. 

" \ fee] that I was much to blame for leaving you alone 
co go to the station with a bait like these notes in your pos- 
session," said Mr. Barnard humbly. " Though of course I 
did not dream that there was any such possibility as your 
being in danger." 

" It is just as well not to run any risks in these days when 
the country is so unsettled," said the detective dryly. 

" Especially where a lady is concerned ! " remarked Graham 
significantly. 

" I supf ose I should have taken Miss Hollister with me 
and left her in the cab while I transacted my business at the 

287 



88 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

War Department ! " said Barnard with self-reproach in his 
tones. 

"They would have only done the same thing in front of 
the War Department," said the detective convincingly. " They 
had it all planned to get those notes somehow. You only 
made it a trifle easier for them by letting the lady go alone. 
If they hadn't succeeded here, they would have followed you 
to your home and got into your office or your safe. They 
are determined, desperate men. We've been watching them 
for some time, letting them work till we could find out who 
was behind them. To-night we caught the whole bunch red- 
handed, thanks to the lady's cleverness. But you had better 
not risk her alone again when there's anything like this on 
hand. She might not come out so easy next time ! " 

Graham muttered a fervent applause in a low tone to this 
advice, tucking the lap robes closer about the girl. Barnard 
gave little shudders of apology as he humbly shouldered the 
blame : 

" Oh, no, of course not ! I certainly am so sorry ! " But 
Shirley suddenly roused herself to explain: 

" Indeed, you mustn't any of you blame Mr. Barnard. He 
did the perfectly right and natural thing. He always trusts 
me to look after my notes, even in the most important cases ; 
and I heard the warning as much as he did. It was my 
business to be on the lookout! I'm old enough and have 
read enough in the papers about spies and ruffians. I ought 
to have known there was something wrong when that boy 
ordered me back and said Mr. Barnard had sent me word. I 
ought to have known Mr. Barnard would never do that. I 
did know just as soon as I stopped to think. The trouble was 
I was giving half my attention to looking at the strange sights 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 

out of the window and thinking what I would tell the folk* 
at home about Washington, or I would not have got into 
such a position. I insist that you shall not blame yourself, 
Mr. Barnard. It is a secretary's business to be on her job 
and not be out having a good time when she is on a business 
trip. I hadn't got beyond the city limits before I knew 
exactly what I ought to have done. I should have asked that 
boy more questions, and I should have got right out of that 
car and told him to tell you I would wait in the station till 
you came for me. It troubled me from the start that you 
had sent for me that way. It wasn't like you." 

Then they turned their questions upon her, and she had to 
tell the whole story of her capture, Graham and Barnard 
exclaiming indignantly as she went on, the detective sitting 
grim and serious, nodding his approval now and then. Gra- 
ham's attitude toward her grew more tender and protective. 
Once or twice as she told of her situation in the old house, 
or spoke of how the man dragged her along in the dark, he 
set his teeth and drew his breath hard, saying in an undertone : 
" The villain ! " And there was that in the way that he looked 
at her that made Shirley hasten through the story, because 
of the wild, joyous clamor of her heart. 

As soon as the city limits were reached, Graham stopped 
the car to telephone. It was after eleven o'clock, and there 
was little chance that George would have stayed at the phone 
so long, but he would leave a message for the early morning 
at least. George, however, had stuck to his post. 

"Sure! I'm here yet! What'd ya think ? Couldn't sleep, 

could I, with my sister off alone with a fella somewhere being 

kidnapped? What'd ya say? Found her? She's all right? 

Oh, gee ! That's good ! I told Carol you would ! I told he? 

10 



290 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

not to worry ! What'd ya say? Oh, Shirley's going to talk? 
Oh, hello, Shirley! How's Washington? Some speed, eh? 
Say, when ya coming home ? To-morrow ? That's good. No, 
mother doesn't know a thing. She thinks I went to bed early 
'cause I planned to go fishing at sunrise. She went to bed 
herself early. Say, Mister Graham's a prince, isn't he ? Well, 
I guess I'll go to bed now. I might make the fishing in the 
morning yet, if I don't sleep too late. I sure am glad you're 
all right ! Well, so long, Shirley ! " 

Shirley turned from the phone with tears in her eyes. It 
wasn't what George said that made her smile tenderly through 
them, but the gruff tenderness in his boy tones that touched 
her so. She hadn't realized before what she meant to him. 

They drove straight to the station, got something to eat, 
and took the midnight train back to their home city. Graham 
had protested that Shirley should go to a hotel and get a good 
rest before attempting the journey, but she laughingly told 
him she could rest anywhere, and would sleep like a top in 
the train. When Graham found that it was possible to 
secure berths in the sleeper for them all, and that they would 
not have to get out until seven in the morning he withdrew 
his protests; and his further activities took the form of sup- 
plementing her supper with fruit and bonbons. His lingering 
hand-clasp as he bade her good-night told her how glad he 
was that she was safe ; as if his eyes had not told her the same 
story every time there had been light enough for them to be 
seen! 

Locked at last into her safe little stateroom, with a soft 
bed to lie on and no bothersome notes to be guarded, one 
would have thought she might have slept, but her brain kept 
time to the wheels, and her heart with her brain. She was 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 291 

going over and over the scenes of the eventful day, and living 
through each experience again, until she came to the moment 
when she looked up to find herself in Sidney Graham's arms, 
with her face against his shoulder. Her face glowed in the 
dark at the remembrance, and her heart thrilled wildly sweet 
with the memory of his look and tone, and all his carefulness 
for her. How wonderful that he should have come so many 
miles to find her ! That he should have been the one to find 
her first, with all those other men on the hunt. He had 
forged ahead and picked her up before any of the others had 
reached her. He had not been afraid to rush up to an armed 
villain and snatch her from her perilous position ! He was a 
man among men ! Never mind if he wasn't her own personal 
property ! Never mind if there were others in his own world 
who might claim him later, he was hers for to-night! She 
would never forget it! 

She slept at last, profoundly, with a smile upon her lips 
No dream of villains nor wild automobile rides came to trouble 
her thoughts. And when she woke in the home station with 
familiar sounds outside, and realized that a new day was before 
her, her heart was flooded with a happiness that her common 
sense found it hard to justify. She tried to steady herself 
while she made her toilet, but the face that was reflected 
rosily from the mirror in her little dressing room would smile 
contagiously back at her. 

"Well, then, have it your own way for just one more 
day ! " she said aloud to her face in the glass. " But to- 
morrow you must get back to common sense again ! " Then 
she turned, fresh as a rose, and went out to meet her fellow 
travellers. 

She went to breakfast with Sidney Graham, a wonderful 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 

breakfast in a wonderful place with fountains and palms and 
quiet, perfect service. Mr. Barnard had excused himself and 
hurried away to his home, promising to meet Shirley at the 
office at half -past nine. And so these two sat at a little round 
table by themselves and had sweet converse over their coffee. 
Shirley utterly forgot for the time that she was only a poor 
little stenographer working for her bread and living in a 
barn. Sidney Graham's eyes were upon her, in deep and un- 
veiled admiration, his spirit speaking to hers through the 
quiet little commonplaces to which he must confine himself 
in this public place. It was not till the meal was over ano? 
he was settling his bill that Shirley suddenly came to herself 
and the color flooded her sweet face. What was she better 
than any other poor fool of a girl who let a rich man amuse 
himself for a few hours in her company and then let him 
carry her heart away with him to toss with his collection? 
She drew her dignity about her and tried to be distant as 
they went out to the street, but he simply did not recognize 
it at all. He just kept his tender, deferential manner, and 
smiled down at her with that wonderful, exalted look that 
made her dignity seem cheap ; so there was nothing to do but 
look up as a flower would to the sun and be true to the best 
that was in her heart. 

She was surprised to find his own car at the door when 
they came out on the street. He must have phoned for it 
before they left the station. He was so kind and thoughtful. 
It was so wonderful to her to be cared for in this way. <e Just 
as if I were a rich girl in his own social set," she thought to 
herself. 

He gave his chauffeur the orders and sat beside ber in the 
back seat, continuing his role of admirer and protector. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 293 

" It certainly is great to think you're here beside me," he 
said in a low tone as they threaded their way in and out of the 
crowded thoroughfare toward the office. "I didn't have a 
very pleasant afternoon and evening yesterday, I can tell you I 
I don't think we'll let you go off on any more such errands. 
You're too precious to risk in peril like that, you know ! " 

Shirley's cheeks were beautiful to behold as she tried to 
lift her eyes easily to his glance and take his words as if they 
had been a mere commonplace. But there was something 
deep down in the tone of his voice, and something intent and 
personal in his glance that made her drop her eyes swiftly 
and covered her with a sweet confusion. 

They were at the office almost immediately and Graham 
was helping her out. 

" Now, when will you be through here ?" he asked, glancing 
at his watch. " What train were you planning to take down 
to the shore ? " I suppose you'll want to get back as soon as 
possible?" 

"Yes," said Shirley, doubtfully, "I do. But I don't 
know whether I oughtn't to run out home first and get mother's 
big old shawl, and two or three other little things we ought to 
have brought along." 

"No," said Graham, quickly, with a flash of anxiety in 
his face, " I wouldn't if I were you. They'll be anxious to 
see you, and if it's necessary you can run up again sometime. 
I think you'll find there are lots of shawls down at the cottage. 
I'm anxious to have you safely landed with your family once 
more. I promised Carol you'd be down the first train after 
you got your work done. How long is it going to take you 
to fix Mr. Barnard up so he can run things without you ? " 

" Oh, not more than two hours I should think, unless 
Ke wants something more than I know." 



294 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

"Well, two hours. It is half -past nine now. We'll say 
two hours and a 1 alf . That ought to give you time. I think 
there's a train about then. I'll phone to the station and find 
out and let you know the exact time. The car will be here 
waiting for you." 

" Oh, Mr. Graham, that's not a bit necessary ! You have 
tgien trouble enough for me already ! " protested Shirley. 

" No trouble at all ! " declared Graham. " My chauffeur 
hasn't a thing to do but hang around with the car this morning 
and you might as well ride as walk. I'll phone you in plenty 
of time." 

He lifted his hat and gave her a last look that kept the 
glow in her cheeks. She turned and went with swift steps in 
to her elevator. 

Sidney Graham dropped his chauffeur at the station to 
enquire about trains and get tickets, with orders to report at 
his office within an hour, and himself took the wheel. Quickly 
working his way out of the city's traffic he put on all possible 
speed toward Glenside. He must get a glimpse of things and 
see that all was going well before he went to the office. What 
would Shirley have said if she had carried out her plan of 
coming out for her mother's shawl? He must put a stop to 
that at all costs. She simply must not see the old barn till 
the work was done, or the whole thing would be spoiled. 
Strange it had not occurred to him that she might want to 
come back after something! Well, he would just have to be 
on the continual lookout. For one thing he would stop at a 
etore on the way back and purchase a couple of big steamer 
rugs and a long warm cloak. He could smuggle them into 
the cottage somehow and have the servants bring them out 
for common use as if they belonged to the nous? 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 295 

He was as eager as a child over every little thing that had 
been started during his absence, and walked about with the 
boss carpenter, settling two or three questions that had come 
up the day before. In ten minutes he was back in his car, 
whirling toward the city again, planning how he could best 
get those rugs and cloaks into the hands of the housekeeper 
at the shore without anybody suspecting that they were new. 
Then it occurred to him to take them down to Elizabeth and 
let her engineer the matter. There must be two cloaks, one for 
Shirley, for he wanted to take her out in the car sometimes 
and her little scrap of a coat was entirely too thin even for 
summer breezes at the shore. 

Shirley met with a great ovation when she entered the 
office. It was evident that her fame had gone before her. 
Mr. Barnard was already there, smiling benevolently, and 
Mr. Clegg frowning approvingly over his spectacles at her, 
Che other office clerks came to shake hands or called congratu- 
lations, till Shirley was quite overwhelmed at her reception, 
Clegg and Barnard both followed her into the inner offica 
and continued to congratulate her on the bravery she had 
shown and to express their appreciation of her loyalty and 
courage in behalf of the firm. Mr. Barnard handed her a 
check for a hundred dollars as a slight token of their appre- 
ciation of her work, telling her that beginning with the first 
of the month her salary was to be raised. 

When at last she sat down to her typewriter and began 
to click out the wonderful notes that had made so much trouble, 
jind put them in shape for practical use, her head was in a 
whirl and her heart was beating with a childish ecstasy. She 
felt as if she were living a real fairy tale, and would not ever 
be able to get back to common every-day life again* 



296 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

At half -past eleven Graham called her up to tell her there 
was a train a little after twelve if she could be ready, and the 
car would be waiting for her in fifteen minutes. 

When she finally tore herself away from the smiles and 
effusive thanks of Barnard and Clegg and took the elevator 
down to the street she found Sidney Graham himself awaiting 
her eagerly. This was a delightful surprise, for he had not 
Baid anything about coming himself or mentioned when he 
would be coming back to the shore, so she had been feeling 
that It might be some time before she would see him again. 

He had just slammed the door of the car and taken his 
Beat beside her when a large gray limousine slowed down beside 
them and a radiant, well-groomed, much-tailored young 
woman leaned out of the car, smiling at Graham, and passing 
over Shirley with one of those unseeing stares wherewith some 
girls know so well how to erase other girls. 

"Oh, Sidney ! I'm so glad I met you 1" she cried. "Mother 
has been phoning everywhere to find you. We are out at our 
country place for a couple of weeks, and she wants to ask you 
to come over this afternoon for a little tennis tournament we 
are having, with a dance on the lawn afterward 1 ." 

" That's very kind of you, Harriet/' said Graham pleas- 
antly, " but I can't possibly be there. I have an engagement 
out of town for this afternoon and evening. Give my regards 
to your mother, please, and thank her for the invitation. 1 
know you'll have a lovely time, you always do at your house/' 

" Oh, that's too bad, Sidney ! " pouted the girl. " Why 
will you be so busy ! and in the summer-time, too ! You ought 
to take a vacation ! Well, if you can't come to-night, you'll run 
down over the week-end, won't you? We are having the 
Foresters and the Harvey3. You like them, and we simply 
can't do without you/' 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 297 

"Sorry," said Graham, smilingly, "but I've got all my 
week-ends filled up just now. Harriet, let me introduce you 
to Miss Hollister. Miss Hale, Miss Hollister ! " 

Then did Harriet Hale have to take over her unseeing 
stare and acknowledge the introduction; somewhat stiffly, it 
imust be acknowledged, for Harriet Hale did not enjoy having 
her invitations declined, and she could not quite place this 
girl with the lovely face and the half -shabby garments, that 
yet had somehow an air of having been made by a French 
artist. 

" I'm sorry, Harriet, but we'll have to hurry away. We're 
going to catch a train at twelve-fifteen. Hope you have a 
beautiful time this afternoon. Eemember me to Tom Harvey 
and the Foresters. Sorry to disappoint you, Harriet, but you 
see I've got my time just full up at present. Hope to see you 
soon again." 

They were off, Shirley with the impression of Harriet 
Hale's smile of vinegar and roses; the roses for Graham, the 
vinegar for her. Shirley's heart was beating wildly under- 
neath her quiet demeanor. She had at last met the wonderful 
Harriet Hale, and Graham had not been ashamed to intro- 
duce her! There had been protection and enthronement in 
his tone as he spoke her name ! It had not been possible for 
Miss Hale to patronize her after that. Shirley was still in a 
daze of happiness. She did not think ahead. She had all sha 
could do to register new occurrences and emotions, and realize 
that her joy was not merely momentary. It had not occurred 
to her to wonder where Graham was going out of town. It 
was enough that he was here now. 

When they reached the station Graham took two large 
packages out of the car, and gave some directions to the 
chauffeur. 



*98 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

" Sorry we couldn't have gone down in the car again/' he 
said as they walked into the station, " but it needs some re- 
pairs and I don't want to take as long a run as that until it 
has been thoroughly overhauled." 

Then he was going down too ! He had declined Harriet 
Hale's invitation to go back to the cottage with her ! Shirley's 
breath came in little happy gasps as she walked beside her 
companion down the platform to the train. 

She found herself presently being seated in a big green 
velvet chair in the parlor car while the porter stowed away 
the two big packages in the rack overhead. 






CHAPTER XXVII 

THERE was only one other passenger in the car, an old 
man nodding behind a newspaper, with his chair facing in the 
other direction. Graham took a swift survey of him and 
turned happily back with a smile to Shirley : 

"At last I have you to myself ! " he said with a sigh of 
satisfaction that maab Shirley's cheeks bloom out rosily again. 

He whirled her chair and his quite away from the vision 
of the old man, so that they were at the nearest possible angle 
to each other, and facing the windows. Then he sat down and 
leaned toward her. 

"Shirley," he said in a tone of proprietorship that was 
tender and beautiful, " I've waited just as long as I'm going 
to wait to tell you something. I know it's lunch time, and 
I'm going to take you into the dining-car pretty soon and get 
you some lunch, but I must have a little chance to talk with 
you first, please." 

Shirley's eyes gave glad permission and he hurried on. 

" Shirley, I love you. I guess you've been seeing that 
for some time. I knew I ought to hide it till you knew me 
better, but I simply couldn't do it. I never saw a girl like 
you, and I knew the minute I looked at you that you were 
of finer clay than other girls, anyway. I knew that if I 
couldn't win you and marry you I would never love anybody 
else. But yesterday when I heard you were in peril away off 
down in Washington and I away up here helpless to save 
you, a^d not even having the right to organize a search for 
you, I nearly went wild! All the way down on the train I 

299 



800 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

kept shutting my eyes and trying to pray the way yon told 
your Sunday School boys how to pray. But all I could get 
out was, 'Oh, God, I love her! Save her! I love her!' 
Shirley, I know I'm not one-half worthy enough for you, but 
I love you with all my heart and I want you for my wife. 
Will you marry me, Shirley ? " 

When she had recovered a little from her wonder and 
astonishment, and realized that he had asked her to marry 
him, and was waiting for his answer, sht lifted her wondering 
eyes to his face, and tried to speak as her conscience and 
reason bade her. 

"But I'm not like the other girls you know/' she said 
bravely. Then he broke in upon her fervently. 

" No, you're not like any other girl I know in the whole 
wide world. Thank God for that! You are one among a 
thousand ! No, you're one among the whole earthf ul of women I 
You're the only one I could ever love ! " 

"But listen, please; you haven't thought. I'm not a 
society girl. I don't belong in your circle. I couldn't grace 
your position the way your wife ought to do. Eemember, 
we're nobodies. We're poor ! We live in a barn! " 

" What do you suppose I care about that ? " he answered 
eagerly. " You may live in a barn all your days if you like, 
and I'll love you just the same. I'll come and live in the 
barn with you if you want me to. My position ! My circle ! 
What's that ? You'll grace my home and my life as no other 
girl could do. You heart of my heart! You strong, sweet 
spirit! The only question I'm going to ask of you is, Can 
you love me? If you can, I know I can make you happy, 
for I love you better than my life. Answer, please. Do you 
love me?" 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 301 

She lifted her eyes, and their spirits broke through their 
glances. If the old man at the other end of the car was looking 
they did not know it. 

They came back to the cottage at the shore with a manner 
so blissful and so unmistakable that even the children noticed. 
Elizabeth whispered to Carol at table : " My brother likes your 
sister a lot, doesn't he? I hope she likes him, too." 

" I guess she does/' responded Carol philosophically. " She 
oughtta. He's been awfully good to her, and to all of us." 

"People don't like people just for that," said wise 
Elizabeth. 

Harley, out on the veranda after dinner, drew near to Carol 
to confide. 

" Say, kid, I guess he has got a case on her dll right now. 
Gee ! Wouldn't that be great ? Think of all those cars ! " 

But Carol giggled. 

" Good night ! Harley ! How could we ever have a wed- 
ding in a barn ? And they're such particular people, too ! " 

"Aw, gee ! " said Harley, disgusted. " You girls are always 
thinking of things like that ! As if that mattered. You can 
get married in a chicken-run if you really have a case like 
that on each other! You make me tired!" and he f talked 
away in offended male dignity. 

Meantime the unconscious subjects of this discussion had 
<*one to Mrs. Hollister to confess, and the sea was forgotten 
by all three for that one evening at least, even though the 
moon was wide and bright and gave a golden pathway across 
the dark water. For a great burden had rolled from Mrs. 
Hollister's shoulders when she found her beloved eldest daugh- 
ter was really loved by this young man, and he was not just 
amusing himself for a little while at her expense. 



302 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

The days that followed were like one blissful fleeting dream 
to Shirley. She just could not get used to the fact that she 
was engaged to such a prince among men ! It seemed as if 
she were dreaming, and that presently she would wake up and 
find herself in the office with a great pile of letters to write, 
and the perplexing problem before her of where they were 
going to live next winter. She had broached that subject 
once to Graham shyly, saying that she must begin to look 
around as soon as she got back to town, and he put her aside, 
asking her to leave that question till they all went back, as he 
had a plan he thought she might think well of, but he couldn't 
tell her about it just yet. He also began to urge her to write 
at once to Mr. Barnard and resign her position, but that she 
would not hear of. 

" No," she said decidedly. " We couldn't live without my 
salary, and there are a lot of things to be thought out and 
planned before I can be married. Besides, we need to get to 
know each other and to grow into each other's lives a little 
bit. You haven't any idea even now how far I am from 
being fitted to be the wife of a man in your position. You 
may be sorry yet. If you are ever going to find it out, I want 
you to do it beforehand." 

He looked adoringly into her eyes. 

" I know perfectly now, dear heart ! " he said, " and I'm 
not going to be satisfied to wait a long time for you to find 
out that you don't really care for me after all. If you've got 
to find that out, I believe I'd rather it would be after I have 
you close and fast and you'll have to like me anyway." 

And then the wonder and thrill of it all would roll over 
her again and she would look into his eyes and be satisfied. 

Still she continued quite decided that nothing could be 



THE ENCHANTED BARN SOS 

done about prolonging her vacation, for she meant to go back 
to Barnard and Clegg's on the day set. 

" You know I'm the man of the house/' she said archly. 
"I can't quite see it at all myself how I'm ever going to 
give up." 

" But I thought I was going to be the man of the house,^ 
pleaded Sidney. "I'm sure I'm quite capable and eager to 
look out for the interests of my wife's family." 

"But you see I'm not the kind of a girl that has been 
looking around for a man who will support my family." 

" No, you surely are not ! " said the young man, laughing. 
" If you had been, young lady, I expect you'd have been looking 
yet &o far as I am concerned. It is because you are what you 
are that I love you. Now that's all right about being inde- 
pendent, but it's about time to fight this thing to a finish. I 
don't see why we all have to be made miserable just because 
there are a lot of unpleasant precedents and conventions and 
crochets in the world. Why may I not have the pleasure of 
helping to take care of your perfectly good family if I want 
to ? It is one of the greatest pleasures to which I am looking 
forward, to try and make them just as happy as I can, so that 
you will be the happier. I've got plenty to do it with. God 
has been very good to me in that way, and why should you try 
to hinder me ? " 

And then the discussion would end in a bewildering look 
of worshipful admiration on Shirley's part and a joyous taking 
possession of her and carrying her off on some ride or walk 01 
other on the part of Graham. 

He did not care just now that she was slow to make plans. 
fie was enjoying each day, each hour, to the full. He wanted 
to keep her from thinking about the future, and especially 



304 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

about the winter, till she got home, and so he humored her 
and led her to other topics. 

One night, as they sat on the dark veranda alone, Graham 
said to George : 

" If you were going to college, where would you want to 
prepare ? " 

He wondered what the boy would say, for the subject of 
college had never been mentioned with relation to George. 
He did not know whether the boy had ever thought of it. 
But the answer came promptly in a ringing voice : 

" Central High ! They've got the best football team IB 
the city." 

" Then you wouldn't want to go away to some preparatory 
school?" 

"No, sir!" was the decided answer. "I believe in the 
public school every time ! When I was a little kid I can re 
member my father taking me to walk and pointing out the 
Central High School, and veiling me thp.t some day I would 
go there to school. I used to always call that 'my school.' 
I used to think I'd get there yet, some day, but I guess that's 
out of the question." 

" Well, George, if that's your choice you can get ready to 
enter as soon as you go back to the city." 

" What ? " George's feet came down from the veranda 
railing with a thud, and he sat upright in the darkness and 
stared wildly at his prospective brother-in-law. Then he 
slowly relaxed and his young face grew grim and stern. 

" No chance ! " he said laconically. 

"Why not?" 

" Because I've got my mother and the children to sup- 
port. I can't waste time going to school. I've got to be a 
man." 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 305 

Something sudden like a choke came in the young znan'i 
throat, and a great love for the brave boy who was so cour- 
ageous in his self-denial. 

" George, you're not a man yet, and you'll shoulder the 
burden twice as well when you're equipped with a college 
education. I mean you shall have it. Do you suppose I'm 
going to let my new brother slave away before his time? 
No, sir; you're going to get ready to make the best man 
that's in you. And as for your mother and the family, isn't 
she going to be my mother, and aren't they to be my family ? 
We'll just shoulder the job together, George, till you're older 
and then we'll see." 

" But I couldn't take charity from anybody." 

" Not even from a brother ? " 

" Not even from a brother." 

"Well, suppose we put it in another way. Suppose you 
borrow the money from me to keep things going, and when 
you are ready to pay it back we'll talk about it then. Or, 
better still, suppose you agree to pass it on to some other 
brother when you are able." 

They talked a long time in the dark, and Graham had 
quite a hard time breaking down the boy's reserve and inde- 
pendence, and getting a real brotherly confidence. But at last 
George yielded, saw the common sense and right of the thing, 
and laid an awkward hand in the man's, growling out: 

" You're a pippin and no mistake, Mr. Graham. I can't 
ever thank you enough ! I never thought anything like this 
would happen to me ! " 

"Don't try thanks, George. We're brothers now, you 
know. Just you do your best at school, and it's all I ask. 
Shirley and I are going to be wonderfully proud of you. But 
20 



306 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

please don't call me Mr. Graham any more. Sid, or Sidney, 
or anything you like, but no more mistering." 

He filing a brotherly arm across the boy's shoulders and 
together they went into the house. 

Meantime the beautiful days went by in one long, golden 
dream of wonder. The children were having the time of their 
livey, and Elizabeth was never so happy. Shirley sat on the 
wide verandas and read the wealth of books and magazines 
which the house contained, or roamed the beach with the 
children and Star, or played in the waves with Doris, and 
wondered if it were really Shirley Hollister who was iiaving 
all this good time. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

THE morning they all started back to the city was a 
memorable one. Graham had insisted that Shirley ask for a 
holiday until Tuesday morning so that she might go up with 
them in the car, and have the whole day to be at home and 
help her mother get settled. She had consented, and found 
to her surprise that Mr. Barnard was most kind about it. He 
had even added that he intended to raise her salary, and she 
might consider that hereafter she was to have ten dollars 
more per month for her services, which they valued very 
highly. 

George had sent his resignation to the store and was not 
to go back at all. Graham had arranged that, for school 
began the day after his return and he would need to be free 
at once. 

Elizabeth, to her great delight, was to go with the Hoi- 
listers and remain a few days until her parents returned. 
Mrs. Graham had written from the West making a proposi- 
tion to Mrs. Hollister that Carol be allowed to go to school 
with Elizabeth the next winter, because Mrs. Graham felt 
it would be so good for Elizabeth to ha\e a friend like that 
Mrs. Hollister, however, answered that she felt it better for 
her little girl to remain with her mother a little longer; and 
that she did not feel it would be a good thing for her child, 
who would be likely to have a simple life before her with very 
few luxuries, to go to a fashionable finishing-school where the 
standards must all necessarily be so different from those of 
her own station in life, and, kind as the offer had been, she 
must decline it. She did not say that Carol had fairly bristled 

307 



308 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

at the idea of leaving her beloved high school now when she 
was a senior and only one year before her graduation. That 
bit of horror and hysterics on Carol's part had been carefully 
suppressed within the four walls of her mother's room; but 
Elizabeth, deeply disappointed, had wept her heart out over 
the matter, and finally been comforted by the promise that 
Mrs. Hollister would write and ask Mrs. Graham to allow 
Elizabeth to go to school with Carol the coming winter. That 
proposition was now on its way West, together with an an- 
nouncement of Sidney's engagement to Shirley. Sidney was 
confidently expecting congratulatory telegrams that morning 
when he reached the city. He had written his father in detail 
all about their plans for returning, and how the work at the 
old barn was progressing, and Mr. Graham, Senior, was toa 
good a manager not to plan to greet the occasion properly. 
Therefore Graham stopped at his office for a few minutes 
before taking the family out to Glenside, and, sure enough, 
came down with his hands full of letters and telegrams, and 
one long white envelope which he put carefully in his breast 
pocket. They had a great time reading the telegrams and 
letters. 

The way out to Glenside seemed very short now, watching 
as they did for each landmark. The children were as eager to 
get back as they had been to leave, and Star snuggled in 
between Harley's feet, held his head high, and smiled benev- 
olently on everybody, as if he knew he was going home and 
was glad. They began to wonder about the chickens, and if 
the garden was all dried up, and whether the dove,* were all 
right. There was an undertone of sadness and suppressed 
excitement, for it was in the minds of all the Hollisters that 
the time in the old barn must of necessity be growing brief. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 309 

The fall would soon be upon them, and a need for warmth. 
They must go hunting for a house at once. And yet they all 
wanted this one day of delight before they faced that question. 

At last they reached the final curve and could see the tall 
old tree in the distance, and the clump of willows knee-deep 
in the brook. By common consent they all grew silent, watch- 
ing for the first glimpse of the dear old barn. 

Then they came around the curve, and there it was ! But 
tfhat was the matter? 

Nobody spoke. It seemed as if they could not get their 
breath. 

Shirley rubbed her eyes, and looked again. Mrs. Hollister 
gave a startled look from her daughter to Graham and back 
to the barn again. Elizabeth and Carol were utterly silent, 
grasping each other's hands in violent ecstasy. The boys 
murmured inarticulately, of which the only audible words 
were : " Good night ! Some class ! " Doris looked for a long 
jecond, puckered her lips as if she were going to cry, and 
inquired pitifully: "I yant my dear barn house home! I 
jant to doh home ! " and Star uttered a sharp, bewildered bark 
and bounded from the car as if this were something he ought 
to attend to. 

But before anybody could say anything more, Graham 
brought out the long white envelope and handed it to Shirley, 

" Before you get out and go in I just want to say a word, 31 
he began. " Father and I both want Shirley to have the old 
barn for her very own, to do with as she pleases. This en- 
velope contains the deed for the property made out in her 
name. We have tried to put it in thorough repair before 
handing it over to her, and if there is anything more she can 
think of that it needs we'll do that ,',oo. And now, welcome 
home to the old barn! Mother, may I help you out?" 



310 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

" But there isn't any barn any more," burst forth the 
irrepressible Elizabeth. " The barn's gone ! It's just a house ! " 

And, sure enough, there stood a stately stone mansion on a 
wide green terrace, where shrubs and small trees were grouped 
fittingly about, erasing all signs of the old pasture-land ; and 
the old grassy incline to the door now rolled away in velvety 
lawn on either side of a smooth cement walk bordered with 
vivid scarlet geraniums. Trailing vines and autumn flowers 
were blossoming in jars on the wide stone railing. The old 
barn door had been replaced by glass which gave a glimpse of 
strange new rooms beyond, and the roof had broken forth in 
charming colonial dormer windows like a new French hat on 
a head that had worn the same old poke bonnet for years. No 
wonder Doris didn't recognize the dear old barn. It did seem 
as though a wizard had worked magic upon it. How was one 
to know that only a brief half-hour before the old gardener 
from the Graham estate set the last geranium in the row 
along the walk, and trailed the last vine over the stone wall ; 
or that even now the corps of men who had been hastily laying 
and patting the turf in place over the terrace were in hiding 
down in the basement, with their wheelbarrows and picks and 
spades, having beat a hasty retreat at the sound of the car 
coming, and were only waiting till they could get away unob- 
served? For orders were orders, and the orders were that 
the work was to be done and every man out of sight by the 
time they arrived. A bonus to every man if the orders were 
obeyed. That is what money and influence can do in a month ! 

In due time they got themselves out of that car in a sort 
of bewildered daze and walked up the new cement path, 
feeling strangely like intruders as they met the bright stare 
of the geraniums. 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 311 

They walked the length of the new piazza in delight. They 
exclaimed and started and smiled and almost wept in one 
another's arms. Graham stood and watched Shirley's happy 
face and was satisfied. 

The first thing Doris did when she got inside the lovely 
glass door was to start to run for her own little willow chair 
and her own little old rag doll that had been left behind, and 
down she went on the slippery floor. And there, behold, the 
old barn floors too had disappeared under a coating of simple 
matched hardwood flooring, oiled and polished smoothly, and 
Doris was not expecting it. 

She got up quickly, half ashamed, and looked around 
laughing. 

" I vas skating ! " she declared with a ringing laugh. " I 
skated yite down on mine nose/' 

Then she hurried more cautiously to the haven of her 
own chair, and with her old doll hugged to her breast she 
reiterated over and over as if to reassure herself : " Mine I 
Doris! Mine! Doris !" 

Words would fail to describe all they said about the won- 
derful rooms, the walla all shining in a soft rough-finish 
plaster, tinted creamy on the upper half and gray below, and 
finished in dark chestnut trimmings; of the beautiful stair- 
case and the wide bay window opening from the first landing 
like a little half-way room, with seats to rest upon. It was 
standing in this bay window that Graham first called Mrs. 
Hoilister's attention to something strange and new outside/ 
behind the house. It was a long, low glass building with 
green things gleaming through its shining roof. 

" There, mother," he said, coming up softly behind her. 
" There is your plaything. You said you had always wanted 



312 THE ENCHANTED BARN 

a hot-house, so we made you one. It is heated from a coil in 
the furnace, and you can try all the experiments with flowers 
you want to. We put in a few things to start with, and you 
can get more at your leisure." 

Mrs. Hollister gave one look, and then turned and put 
her arms around the tall young man, reaching up on her tip- 
toes to do so, brought his handsome face down to hers, and 
kissed him. 

" My dear son ! " she said. That was all, but he knew 
that she had accepted him and given him a loving place with 
her own children in her heart. 

There were shoutings and runnings up stairs and down by 
first one and then another. The bathrooms were discovered 
one by one, and then they had to all rush down into the base- 
ment by the new stairs to see the new laundry and the new 
furnace, and the entrance to the hot-house ; and the hot-house 
itself, with its wealth of bloom transplanted from the Graham 
greenhouses. 

They almost forgot the chickens and the doves, and the 
garden was a past Eden not to be remembered till long hours 
afterward. 

The sunset was dying away in the sky, and the stars were 
large and few and piercing in the twilight night when Shirley 
and Sidney came walking up the terrace arm in arm, and 
found Doris sitting in the doorway cuddling her old rag doll 
and a new little gray kitten the farmer next door had brought 
her, and singing an evening song to herself. 

Shirley and Sidney turned and looked off at the sky where 
a rosy stain was blending softly into the gray of evening. 

"Do you remember the first night we stood here to- 
gether?" Sidney said in a low tone, as he drew her fingers 



THE ENCHANTED BARN 313 

within his own. "I loved you then, Shirley, that first 



And then Doris's little shrill voice chimed above their 
murmurings : 

" Oh, mine nice dear home ! Mine kitty an' mine dolly ! 
and mine piazza ! and mine bafwoom wif a place to swim 
boats! an' mine f'owers an' pitty house! No more barn! 
Barn all dawn! Never turn bat any mohl Oh, mine nice, 
pitty dear home ! " 



THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ 

This book is due on the last DATE stamped below. 



JAN 24 19/3 
JAN 7 mm 
NOVU1973 
NOV 21 RECTO 

NOV9 '83 

OCT 2 6 1983 REC'D 



100m-8,'65(F6282s8)2373 



TOREO AT NRLF 



PS3515.I486E5 1918